Peripheral Vascular Disease
WHAT IS PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE?
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, refers to deposits of fat and calcium
that narrow arteries throughout the body. People with PAD have narrowed
arteries in their extremities, (usually the legs) which reduce blood flow
to the area and causes pain. In the next five years, one in four patients
with peripheral arterial disease will suffer a heart attack, stroke, amputation or death.
WHO IS AT RISK OF PAD?
The risk factors which result in PAD are also closely associated with coronary
artery disease and heart attack. In fact, people who have PAD very often
have heart disease as well, whether they know it or not.
WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED?
You should be screened if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Anyone 65 years and older should consider a yearly exam
If you are 55 years and older with one of the following risk factors:
- Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2
- Stroke or TIA
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- If you are or were a smoker
- Non healing wounds on the lower extremities
Any adult with symptoms of PAD
- Painful cramping legs with walking
Early detection and treatment of PAD can help prevent serious disease.
Claudication is discomfort or pain in your legs that happens when you walk
and goes away when you rest. You may not always feel pain; instead you
may feel a tightness, heaviness, cramping, or weakness in one or both
of your legs. Claudication often occurs more quickly if you walk uphill
or up a flight of stairs. Over time, you may feel claudication at shorter
walking distances, as the degree of artery blockage worsens.