Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Perhaps you walk less because of muscle aches or fatigue in your legs? Or you previously had a sore on your foot that took longer than usual to heal? Have you been told the circulation in your limbs is poor?
Peripheral arterial disease, also called PAD, occurs when blood vessels in the legs are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits. This decreases blood flow to the lower extremities increasing risk for heart attack and stroke. Individuals often do not realize they have PAD, possibly relating it to old age, simple mild pain, cold or numbness in feet; however it can become severe if not recognized early enough. Severity can be as extreme as amputation. Luckily, you can reduce symptoms before major problems occur by seeking treatment and taking care of your blood vessels.
How Do I Know Whether I'm at High Risk for PAD?
Just having heart disease or diabetes puts you at risk, but your risk is even greater under the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal blood cholesterol levels
- Not physically active
- Over age 50
- History or family history of heart disease, or you've have had a heart attack or a stroke
Based on the American Diabetes Association* “an estimated 1 out of every 3 people with diabetes over the age of 50 have this condition. They also state that studies have found that EXERCISE, such as walking, can be used both to treat PAD and to prevent it.” In addition the American Heart Association** validates that “EXERCISE and claudication medications are enough to slow the progression or even reverse the symptoms of PAD.”