12 Facts About Peripheral Arterial Disease – Risk Factors & Statistics
Every year Millions of Americans are diagnosed with PAD, too many find out too late.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when your blood vessels outside of your heart become narrower. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis. This occurs when plaque begins to build up around the walls of the arteries supplying blood to the legs and arms.
Plaque is a substance that is composed of mainly cholesterol and fat. It causes your arteries to become restricted or blocked. This may reduce or even stop blood flow. The legs are usually the most common body part to be affected.
If PAD becomes severe enough, this blocked blood flow may cause gangrene (tissue death) which can sometimes result in amputation of your foot or leg.
Here are 12 facts about PAD:
Risk Factors of Peripheral Arteries Disease
The major risk factor for contracting PAD is smoking. Additional risk factors include:
• High blood pressure
• Older age
• High blood cholesterol
• Heart disease
Symptoms of PAD
Some symptoms that you may have PAD are:
• Pain, numbness, soreness, or heaviness in your leg muscles. This often occurs when climbing stairs, or walking.
• A pale or bluish color to the skin
• Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
• Sores or wounds on the legs, feet, or toes, that are slow to heal, or don’t heal at all
• Erectile dysfunction, especially among diabetic men
• Lower temperature in one leg versus the other
• Stunted nail growth on your toes and a decrease in the growth of hair on your legs
It is important to note that some people who have PAD do not experience any of these symptoms. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above. (1)
Peripheral Arterial Disease Statistics
• More than 202 million people have PAD worldwide, with approximately 70% residing in low-to-middle-income countries. (2)
• With an age-adjusted prevalence of approximately 12%, PAD affects at least 8 to 12 million Americans. (3)
• The disease prevalence increases with age and 12% to 20% of Americans age 65 and older (4.5 to 7.6 million) have PAD. As the population ages, the prevalence could reach 9.6 to 16 million in those age 65 and older and 19 million overall by 2050. (4)
Although PAD affects men and women equally, worse outcomes have been observed in diabetic women compared with diabetic men.
The major impediments to improving the care of patients with PAD are related to the lack of disease recognition, poor understanding of its impact on the patient, and the gross underuse of safe, effective, and widely available therapies. (4)
Studies have suggested a disproportionately higher PAD prevalence among African Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites. (5)
Things to remember about PAD:
• Affects men and women equally
• Highest risk for older adults, diabetics, and former smokers (present or remote)
• High incidence in patients with chronic kidney disease
• High incidence in transplant recipients
• More than 90% of cases secondary to atherosclerosis (6)
If you have any of these risk factors, it is important to see your doctor about it. If you have been diagnosed with PAD, you can still have a full, active lifestyle.
Although PAD is serious and can often be painful, there are many ways to slow it down or even stop it completely. Here are eight of them:
1. Quit smoking
2. Keep up with your doctor appointments
3. Eat heart-healthy foods
4. Avoid certain medicines
5. Take care of your feet and legs
6. Stay warm
7. Walk and rest
8. Find an exercise program that’s right for you
You might also be interested in: QuantaFlo vs. ABI in Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
(2) F.G.R. Fowkes, D. Rudan, I. Rudan, V. Aboyans, J.O. Denenberg, M.M. McDermott, et al. Lancet, 382 (9901) (2013), pp. 1329–1340
(3) American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2004. 2004; Dallas.
(4) The PARTNERS program: A national survey of peripheral arterial disease detection, awareness, and treatment. JAMA. 286: 2001; 1317–1324.
(5) Prevalence of and risk factors for peripheral arterial disease in the United States. Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2000. Circulation. 110: 2004; 738–743.
(6) American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2004. 2004; Dallas