According to the American Heart Association, peripheral arterial
disease (PAD) is a serious condition that may lead to limb loss,
stroke, heart attack and/or sudden death. Most people are not
aware that they have it until it is too late.
The good news is that it does not have to stay that way. It is
important to learn about the factors that may put you at risk for
PAD and to proactively be checked for blockages. Taking proactive
steps can help save your limbs or even your life.
About Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease occurs when the arteries in the
limbs, primarily the legs, become hardened and narrowed, usually
due to the buildup of plaque. It is similar to coronary artery
disease and carotid artery disease. As a result, when the muscles
of your legs are working harder (e.g., during exercise), they
can't get enough blood and oxygen. Eventually, there may not be
enough blood and oxygen even when the muscles are resting.
The most common symptoms of PAD are cramping, tingling in the
extremities or pain or fatigue in the leg, calf or hip muscles
while walking or exercising. Typically, this pain disappears with
rest and returns when you walk or exercise again.
What You Should Know About PAD
- Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else
- PAD often goes undiagnosed by health care professionals
- People with peripheral vascular disease have four-to-five
times more risk of heart attack or stroke
- Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation
- You are at especially high risk for PAD if you smoke, live a
sedentary lifestyle, have a family history of PAD, are obese,
diabetic or have high cholesterol or blood pressure.
Learn more about Vascular Services