Information for Patients
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Plaque is a sticky substance made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. That limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your body.
Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including
- Coronary artery disease. These arteries supply blood to your heart. When they are blocked, you can suffer angina or a heart attack.
- Carotid artery disease. These arteries supply blood to your brain. When they are blocked you can suffer a stroke.
- Peripheral arterial disease. These arteries are in your arms, legs and pelvis. When they are blocked, you can suffer from numbness, pain and sometimes infections.
Atherosclerosis usually doesn't cause symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don't know they have it until they have a medical emergency.
A physical exam, imaging, and other diagnostic tests can tell if you have it. Medicines can slow the progress of plaque buildup. Your doctor may also recommend procedures such as angioplasty to open the arteries, or surgery on the coronary or carotid arteries. Lifestyle changes can also help. These include following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Gangrene is the death of tissues in your body. It happens when a part of your body loses its blood supply. Gangrene can happen on the surface of the body, such as on the skin, or inside the body, in muscles or organs. Causes include
- Serious injuries
- Problems with blood circulation, such as atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease
Skin symptoms may include a blue or black color, pain, numbness, and sores that produce a foul-smelling discharge. If the gangrene is internal, you may run a fever and feel unwell, and the area may be swollen and painful.
Gangrene is a serious condition. It needs immediate attention. Treatment includes surgery, antibiotics, and oxygen therapy. In severe cases an amputation may be necessary.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside of your heart. The cause of PAD is atherosclerosis. This happens when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. Plaque is a substance made up of fat and cholesterol. It causes the arteries to narrow or become blocked. This can reduce or stop blood flow, usually to the legs. If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue death and can sometimes lead to amputation of the foot or leg.
The main risk factor for PAD is smoking. Other risk factors include older age and diseases like diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Many people who have PAD don't have any symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include
- Pain, numbness, achiness, or heaviness in the leg muscles. This happens when walking or climbing stairs.
- Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
- Sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
- A pale or bluish color to the skin
- A lower temperature in one leg than the other leg
- Poor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legs
- Erectile dysfunction, especially among men who have diabetes
PAD can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack.
Doctors diagnose PAD with a physical exam and heart and imaging tests. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines, and sometimes surgery. Lifestyle changes include dietary changes, exercise, and efforts to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
General Equivalence Map Definitions
The ICD-10 and ICD-9 GEMs are used to facilitate linking between the diagnosis codes in ICD-9-CM and the new ICD-10-CM code set. The GEMs are the raw material from which providers, health information vendors and payers can derive specific applied mappings to meet their needs.
- Approximate Flag - The approximate flag is on, indicating that the relationship between the code in the source system and the code in the target system is an approximate equivalent.
- No Map Flag - The no map flag indicates that a code in the source system is not linked to any code in the target system.
- Combination Flag - The combination flag indicates that more than one code in the target system is required to satisfy the full equivalent meaning of a code in the source system.