Arterial Insufficiency

This condition results from an inadequate flow of blood through the arteries. It can develop from a variety of causes, and it may affect many different parts of the body.

Causes

One of the most common causes of arterial insufficiency is atherosclerosis, a thickening and hardening of the arterial walls that can severely restrict blood flow. Arterial insufficiency can also result from damaged or weak vessels, an aneurysm, or smoking.

Symptoms

Symptoms of arterial insufficiency vary depending on what part of the body is affected. In many cases the legs are affected. The legs may feel painful, and they may cramp and tingle. They may become pale and feel cold. The person may lose the hair on the legs. These symptoms worsen with activity and improve with rest.

Arterial insufficiency can also impact major organs. If the vessels of the heart are affected, the patient may have a heart attack. If the vessels of the head are affected, the patient may have a stroke.

Treatment

Treatment options vary depending on the patient’s need. Options may include medication and a healthier lifestyle. Insufficiency may also be treated with angioplasty or stenting to widen a restricted blood vessel, or with a surgical bypass to route blood flow around a blocked blood vessel.