8 million don’t know they have it
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, affects 8 million Americans—and many don’t know they have it. But PAD is a very serious condition that has also been linked to heart attack and stroke if it’s not treated.
Peripheral artery disease refers to the obstruction of large arteries not within the coronary, aortic arch vasculature, or brain. PAD can result from atherosclerosis, inflammatory processes leading to stenosis, an embolism, or thrombus formation. It causes either acute or chronic ischemia (lack of blood supply). Often PAD is a term used to refer to atherosclerotic blockages found in the lower extremity
If you have PAD, blood flow to the arms, legs, kidneys and other vital organs can be limited. Without enough oxygen-rich blood, nerves and tissues in these areas can be injured. That’s why, if you have PAD in your legs, it can make walking very difficult; you might have painful cramping or numbness. The lack of blood in the legs can also make infections more likely. In extreme cases when lack of blood flow has been prolonged, muscles and tissue can die and cause some people to need to have their leg amputated, or surgically removed.
The good news is there are a number of treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage PAD. By treating it, you can also prevent related heart attack, stroke, leg amputations and death. The more informed and equipped you are to manage PAD, the better you’ll feel. Use this condition center to learn more about PAD. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.