ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to the CDC, approximately 8.5 million people in the United States have peripheral artery disease, including up to 20 percent of people over age 60. But the general population awareness of peripheral artery disease is only at 25 percent. Millions of Americans could have this potentially life-threatening disease and not even realize it. Recognizing the possible symptoms is the start of increased awareness.
Peripheral artery disease, or pad, is a common circulatory problem.
Mitul Patel, M.D., FACC, an associate professor at UC San Diego Health, told Ivanhoe, “It essentially is plaque buildup in blood vessels that supply blood to the limbs. It can be the arms, the legs.”
The most common sign is pain in the legs, but some people exhibit symptoms and are not even aware of them.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that pad is one of the most common causes for erectile dysfunction. Fifty percent of men between ages 40 and 70 have ED, but many do not know that it is because the pelvic blood vessels have narrowed.
One of the first signs is cuts or sores on your feet and legs that will not heal. If these small injuries do not seem to be getting better, it could be serious.
Pad can often be treated by living a healthier lifestyle. But keep a look out for signs, and don’t hesitate to see your doctor if something seems unusual.
The CDC reports that patients with pad are at risk for developing coronary artery disease, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin or other similar medications may prevent the development of serious complications, and it is extremely important for those with pad to quit smoking.
Contributors to this news report include: Hayley Hudson, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
SURPRISING SIGNS OF PAD
BACKGROUND: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you have PAD, your extremities, usually your legs, don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking. Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs. Factors that increase your risk of developing peripheral artery disease include: smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age, a family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke, and high levels of homocysteine, a protein component that helps build and maintain tissue.
TREATMENT: Treatments for peripheral artery disease include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery or procedures. The overall goals of treating PAD include reducing risk of heart attack and stroke, reducing symptoms of pain in the legs when exercising, improving mobility and overall quality of life, and preventing complications. Treatment may slow or stop the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of complications. Without treatment, PAD may progress, resulting in serious tissue damage in the form of sores or gangrene (tissue death) due to inadequate blood flow. In extreme cases of PAD, also referred to as critical limb ischemia (CLI), amputation of part of the leg or foot may be necessary. Other treatment options are bypass grafting surgery, Angioplasty and stent placement, and atherectomy (using a catheter to cut off plaque).
INCREASE: The number of people with PAD has skyrocketed from about 164 million in 2000 to 202 million in 2010, according to worldwide estimates in The Lancet. The condition affects 1 in 6 people older than 80 years worldwide, the study found. About 70% of the people with PAD live in low-income or middle-income countries, mainly in Southeast Asia and western Pacific regions, the results show. Among the reasons for the increase: longer life expectancy and changing lifestyles are driving the increase. Many of the risk factors that cause PAD, including smoking, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, are the same as those for other major cardiovascular disorders and can be prevented and treated.
* For More Information, Contact:
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk