Peripheral Artery Disease
Neil Kramer, MD, is a cardiologist, Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Ariz.
Question: Several of my friends recently had a screening for “Peripheral Arterial Disease,” or P.A.D. What is this disease?
Answer: Peripheral Arterial Disease, or P.A.D., is a common yet serious disease that occurs when extra cholesterol and fat circulating in the blood collects on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to your arms and legs.
Left unchecked, P.A.D. and other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and more can lead to health consequences. The disease can impact your quality of life by making walking difficult and increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, leg amputation and even death.
P.A.D. affects 8 to 12 million people within the U.S., especially those over age 50.
One out of three people with P.A.D. experience the following common signs:
- Claudication (fatigue, tiredness, or pain in your legs that occurs with walking and goes away with rest)
- Pain in your thighs or buttocks, which also occurs with walking and subsides at rest
- Foot or toe pain that often disturbs your sleep
- Slow-to-heal wounds on your feet
- Changes in color or temperature of lower extremities
If you have any of these symptoms, you should seriously consider undergoing a screening for P.A.D. Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease can help to prevent disability and restore your mobility, stop P.A.D. from progressing, and lower your risk for heart attack, heart disease and stroke.
Reviewed September 2010