Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) affects approximately 8 million adults in the United States and results in the narrowing of the arteries in the legs. This is turn can lead to gangrene and amputation if left untreated. People living with PAD have a much greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The most common symptoms include:
- Leg pain (called claudication)
- Tiredness or cramping in your leg or hip
- Foot or leg wound/sore that won’t heal
- Trouble walking or climbing stairs
More than half of people with PAD will not have any symptoms, and, those with symptoms may think these symptoms are a normal part of aging, so they might not visit their doctor. For these reasons, it is vital to know the risk factors for PAD:
- Smoking, or history of being a smoker
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes (one out of three people with diabetes has PAD)
- The American Diabetes Association recommends annual screenings for those with diabetes. A simple screening for PAD, called the ankle-brachial index test (ABI), can be used to help diagnose PAD.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, PAD can be treated and even decreased with an exercise program, lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes surgery. If you have one of the above risk factors, schedule an appointment with your primary physician.
For More Information
You can also stop by or call the Center for Healthy Lifestyles at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. Our staff can help you understand your risk of PAD and provide tips to decrease this risk.