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Peripheral Artery Disease

What is PAD?

Your peripheral arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart to your arms and legs. Healthy peripheral arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to flow freely to your legs, and provide oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients that your legs need. Typically with age, the peripheral arteries build up plaque, a sticky substance made up mostly of fat and cholesterol. Plaque narrows the passageway within the arteries and causes them to become stiff and blocked.

PAD results when the peripheral arteries become too narrow or obstructed and limit the blood flow to your legs. If left untreated, PAD can cause pain or aching in your legs with walking, resting pain in your foot at night in bed, non-healing sores or infections in your toes or feet, and can lead to gangrene and limb loss in its most severe form. In addition, it can be associated with other serious arterial conditions leading to heart attacks and stroke.

Symptoms of PAD

There may be no symptoms in the early stages of PAD. Developing symptoms may include discomfort or pain in your legs when walking with the pain going away when you stop and rest.

Why should I be screened?

It isn’t only accidents and wars that result in amputations. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can lead to loss of a leg. In fact, each year tens of thousands of Americans lose a leg due to severe PAD. PAD is caused by a build up of plaque in peripheral arteries, making them narrow or obstructed, and limits the blood flow, particularly in the legs.

• Individuals over 60 years are most likely to develop AAA
• PAD affects more than eight million people in the United States,    especially those over 50
• African Americans and Hispanics are at particular risk of PAD.
• Diabetic patients with PAD are also at significantly increased risk    of limb amputation due to PAD
• Smoking
• One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has PAD
• Individuals with PAD suffer a five-fold increased relative risk of a    cardiovascular ischemic event and total mortality that is two-to-
   three fold greater than those without PAD


Screening                  Treatment Options

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