What Goes into the Diagnosis of PAD Disease? – Credihealth Blog

Clinical assessment is needed to refer to the right kind of treatment for any disease. PAD or Peripheral Arterial Disease is one such cardiovascular medical issue that requires a detailed analysis to initiate the right treatment. The root cause of the problem will define the method of treatment.

Why Is It Important to Detect PAD?

A patient suffering from PAD is at a higher risk of contracting an arterial disease. PAD can affect the brain, cause stroke or failure of the heart. Hence, a blood test for PAD is advisable to avoid adverse effects.

People who are at a higher risk of getting PAD include:

Smokers:  Around 34.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. PAD is caused by the reduced supply of blood body parts. Hence, smokers stand at a higher risk of getting diagnosed with the disease.

Obese People: An inactive lifestyle leads to obesity in people. Hence, overweight people can be victims of cardiovascular diseases like PAD.

Senior Citizens: People above the age of 50 have a weaker immune system. They have a higher chance of getting PAD.

People with Underlying Medical Conditions: People with diabetes, heart and kidney-related diseases are not immune to cardiovascular medical conditions.

Ways to Diagnose PAD in Patients

Detecting the disease early is important to start an immediate treatment for the best results. Different methods of diagnosis are followed according to the signs and symptoms in each patient.

Blood Test

Blood test for PAD plays a vital role to detect the life-threatening condition at an early stage. 

Most common blood tests done for detecting PAD include:

Lipid Panel: This test measures cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood. It helps in evaluating the risk of contracting PAD.

Hemoglobin and Glucose Test: This blood test can detect blood sugar levels. Type 2 Diabetes patients have a higher range of glucose in their blood. The test can help diagnose PAD and other cardiovascular diseases.

Kidney Test: Checking if the kidney can pump blood is typically important to detect the chances of a patient having PAD. This blood test checks the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) to validate if a person has PAD or not.

CBC: A Complete Blood Count (CBC) test evaluates the components and features of the blood. Abnormal ranges of the components can detect a wide range of disorders like PAD.

Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) Test

Foot problems and PAD go hand in hand. Unattended foot and ankle wounds and infections can result in limb amputation in many patients. Hence, a foot and ankle surgeon performs a detailed examination of the legs to determine the patient’s risk for having PAD.

ABI is a simple test that measures and compares the blood pressure level at the arm and the ankle. An abnormal ABI index is an indication of underlying cardiovascular disease. 

The foot surgeon may then recommend that you consult a heart specialist for further examination.

Intravascular ultrasonography

Intravascular ultrasonography uses specialized sound waves to get visuals of blood vessels. It can show the anatomic characteristics of an improper blood vessel. The non-invasive way of testing provides essential information regarding the level and extent of the disease. It is important to get accurate and validated values to start the necessary treatment.


Infrared thermography is a major tool used in the detection of PAD. This method can find the difference in temperature between the lower and upper body parts. It helps in estimating the severity of the disease.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) refers to an advanced technique used to diagnose a wide range of diseases. This method uses powerful magnetic radio waves to take pictures of the body parts. It is one of the most secure ways to check the arteries and veins for PAD disease.

CT Scan

Computed Tomography is used to scan the arterial and venous vessels. It can help find clots and blockages in the blood vessels. A CT scan can help in the easy detection of PAD in a patient.


Angiogram gives an x-ray of the blood vessels. It is used for patients who have stents or pacemakers in the heart. The test helps in evaluating the severity of narrowed-blood vessels.

A clear angiography report can help in the early detection of PAD and the right mode of treatment.


Final Words

An experienced doctor will only examine a patient after a detailed analysis of their medical history. Hence, it is advisable not to delay and approach a doctor at the right time. An early diagnosis can determine the further tests and examinations to treat the underlying medical condition.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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