Peripheral artery disease (PAD), often called peripheral vascular disease (or PVD), occurs when the arteries responsible for providing blood to the arms or legs become blocked. This condition is experienced by about 1 in 20 aged 50 and over – about 10 million United States citizens. PAD tends to lead to poor circulation, loss of limbs, and difficulty walking.
The most likely cause of PAD is blood vessels blocked by fatty plaque. In other cases, PAD can be the result of blood clots in the arteries.
Some with PAD don’t experience symptoms; however, common symptoms include muscle aches, cramps, pain, and numbness. The most common area those with PAD report suffering this discomfort is in the legs or hips, especially when walking. As this is caused by a lack of blood flow to the leg muscles during exercise, the pain may go away after a period of rest. However if you experience symptoms of PAD, don’t dismiss them as a normal part of aging. Talk to your healthcare provider.
Living a heart-healthy life can prevent clogged arteries and a PAD diagnosis.
- Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins like nuts and fish
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your weight and diabetes under control
- Quit smoking
- Electrocardiograms (EKG, ECG)
- Peripheral Angiography
- Peripheral Vascular Studies
- Stress Testing
- Cardiac Rehab