Healthcast: Surprising Signs of PAD


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, said, “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.

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