PAD: Hair loss on legs could be a sign of this common condition

Alopecia in these areas could indicate that you need to make some lifestyle changes.

While hair loss on a daily basis is very common, pulling out chunks of hair from your head is a sign of a serious problem. But hair fall from your scalp isn’t the only type of alopecia that should concern you—losing hair from other parts of your body is also a big indicator of underlying health issues. One such condition is peripheral artery disease (PAD).

What is peripheral artery disease?

According to UK healthcare group Bupa, PAD is a common condition in which there is restricted blood flow in the legs due to a narrowing of arteries. The blocked circulation and thin arteries could also be triggered by an accumulation of fatty deposits.

Oftentimes this disease can go unnoticed as it doesn’t always exhibit any symptoms. But on the other hand, people also experience leg pain that could potentially be debilitating. Furthermore, if the disease goes untreated, the pain could occur ‘even when you’re resting or lying down’, reports Mayo Clinic.

So, if you’ve been struggling with claudication—pain in your thighs, buttocks, and calves while walking—the NHS recommends that you see a GP straightaway. They wrote:

Many people mistakenly think this is just part of growing older, but there's no reason why an otherwise healthy person should experience leg pain.

Leg hair

Another common symptom of PAD which experts have highlighted is body hair loss particularly on the legs, feet, and toes. Medical News Today explains that when there is restricted blood flow in the legs, it can also hamper hair growthand as a result you may notice that your leg hair is either growing slower or falling off completely. Other symptoms that manifest on your legs and feet during PAD are:

  • Numbness
  • Slow growth of toenails
  • Sores or lesions
  • Discolouration of skin (pale or blue)

The good news is that this disease can easily be medicated through lifestyle changes including maintaining a healthy diet, limiting intake of alcohol, exercising, lowering your cholesterol levels, and avoiding tobacco products.

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