Tuesday, 20 February 2024 00:00

Facts About the Ankle-Brachia Index Test

The Ankle-Brachial Index, or ABI, test is a diagnostic tool podiatrists use to assess peripheral arterial disease. This is a condition characterized by narrowed or blocked arteries, caused primarily by plaque buildup and which leads to poor blood flow to the legs. By measuring blood pressure at the ankle, at rest, and sometimes post-exercise, the ABI helps predict the severity of peripheral artery disease, a condition primarily caused by arterial narrowing or blockage due to plaque buildup. A normal ABI falls within the range of 1.0 to 1.4, indicating sufficient blood flow and minimal arterial obstruction, while values of 0.9 or lower suggest peripheral artery disease. Additionally, ABI values above 1.40 may also signal arterial stiffness and potential cardiovascular risks. Notably, a slight drop in ABI post-exercise further confirms the presence of peripheral artery disease. This test is instrumental not only in diagnosing lower extremity vascular issues but also in identifying individuals at heightened risk for heart attacks and strokes. Consequently, integrating ABI testing into routine podiatric assessments enables early detection and management of PAD. If you have peripheral artery disease symptoms, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an examination and possibly ABI testing. 

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with Mark Majeski, DPM from Main Street Foot & Ankle, LLC. Our practitioner will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Toms River, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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