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Arm artery disease is a type of peripheral artery disease. It is a circulatory disorder in which the arteries in the arm become narrow or blocked, unable to carry oxygen-rich blood into the arms. Arm artery disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis. Risk factors that contribute to arm artery disease are:
Many of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated by changing your lifestyle.
If you have arm artery disease, you may experience these symptoms in your arm:
The pain may stop when you rest. As the disease develops, you may experience cool, pale or reddish-blue skin. You may be unable to find a pulse in your wrist or notice that one arm is colder than the other arm. These symptoms are caused by the narrowed arteries' inability to supply necessary oxygen to the muscles.
Arm artery disease can progress slowly and remain undiagnosed. If you have these symptoms, be sure to inform your physician. This condition can lead to increased risk of amputation, heart attack and stroke.
Your physician will take blood pressure and temperature in both your arms. He or she will use a stethoscope to listen for a bruit (abnormal whooshing sound). Arm artery disease can be diagnosed with tests including:
Arm artery disease treatments control the symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. An anesthetic injection (sympathetic block) can relieve symptoms by blocking specific nerves in the hand. Cervical sympathectomy treatments can stop artery spasms with nerve interference. Depending on the underlying cause and blockage, your physician will work with you to manage your condition.
You may be prescribed medications to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Other medications may be given to improve blood flow and relax blood vessel walls. Your physician will tailor the best medications for your underlying cause and condition.
It is possible to positively affect your artery condition with a few lifestyle changes. First, quit smoking. Tobacco not only damages your arteries but also increases complications. To slow atherosclerosis, strive for a healthy weight. A low-fat and high-fiber diet will help your arteries become healthier. Introduce walking a few times a week into your routine for at least 30 minutes.
If necessary, several surgical procedures may relieve the symptoms. With angioplasty, your physician will have two options via catheter. He or she may inflate and deflate a special balloon to break up the plaque or insert a permanent stent to hold open the artery. For advanced arm arterial disease, your physician may perform a bypass (create an alternative arterial path) or endarterectomy (surgically remove plaque).
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