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10 Things You Should Know About Peripheral Artery Disease

By Andrew Alpin, 6 November

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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that causes the arteries that carry blood to different parts of the body to become narrower. If PAD isn’t treated on time, it can lead to a stroke, changes in skin color, and total loss of blood circulation to the legs and feet, which can cause gangrene and the loss of a limb. However, knowing what to look for can save your life, and experts have revealed 10 things to know about the disease.

1 PAD often goes undiagnosed

Eric Stahl, MD, a non-invasive cardiologist at Staten Island University Hospital, says, “PAD is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms aren’t clear. Therefore, checking in with a doctor or nurse regularly for evaluation is important. An ankle-brachial index (ABI), which compares blood pressure measurements in the lower legs to those in the arms, is often the first step in making a diagnosis. If the results are not normal, more tests may be needed to figure out how much the narrowing is.

PAD often goes undiagnosed

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2 What causes PAD?

PAD is caused by blockages in the arteries that bring blood to the legs. The cholesterol deposits that make up these blockages are the same as the ones that cause heart attacks. So, the way to stop PAD is the same way to stop a heart attack. Dr. Todd Villines, a famous clinical cardiologist and the Chief Medical Officer of Elucid, says, “We know that the primary cause of PAD is atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaque in the arteries.” This happens when arterial inflammation, cholesterol, calcium, and scar tissue build up, making plaque that clogs the arteries and slows blood flow to the legs, as per the Cardiovascular Coalition. The more plaque builds up on the inside walls of the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs and arms, the less flexible and narrower the arteries become, putting patients at a higher risk.

What causes PAD

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3 What are the risk factors?

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The number of people who have PAD rises with age. PAD is also more likely to happen if you smoke cigarettes or have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. The risk of it happening to smokers is three times higher than people who don’t smoke. People with diabetes are almost twice as likely to get PAD as people without diabetes.

What are the risk factors

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