WHAT IS P.A.D.?
Most often described as poor circulation in the legs, P.A.D. is a serious condition that more than doubles your risk of heart attack or stroke. P.A.D. results when plaque build up causes narrowing in the arteries of the legs or those leading to the heart or brain and restricts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to these areas of the body. This may lead to blockages caused by clots formed if the plaque ruptures leading to a heart attack or stroke.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF P.A.D.?
Symptoms of P.A.D. include the following conditions:
- Pain, cramps and a tired feeling or heaviness in your legs, thighs, buttocks when you exercise, even if just for a short period of time. These symptoms often ease after resting.
- Often, however, many people with P.A.D. have no symptoms and may not notice any warning signs. As a result, many people are unaware they may be at risk for P.A.D.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR P.A.D.?
If you’re over 50 and have one or more of the following conditions, you should get tested for P.A.D.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Smoke or used to smoke
- You’re over 70
- You have pain in your legs while walking that subsides after resting
But speak to your doctor, too, as you may have additional risk factors not listed here.
WHAT IS THE TESTING PROCEDURE FOR P.A.D.?
Doctors diagnose P.A.D. with a physical exam or specific tests for the condition. One P.A.D. test that is often used is called an Ankle-Brachial Index (A.B.I.) test. The 10-minute test is based on comparing the blood-pressure readings from your arms and ankles, which are then used to calculate your A.B.I. number. An A.B.I. number below 0.9 may mean you have P.A.D. This test is recommended in particular for people over 50 who have diabetes.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR P.A.D.?
According to a community of health organizations, including the P.A.D. Coalition (www.padcoalition.org) and Vascular Cures (www.vascularcures.org/) which offer information about P.A.D., the following treatment options are recommended as effective ways to treat the condition:
- Exercise therapy
- Lifestyle modification
- Quit smoking
- Diabetes management
- Blood pressure management
- Foot care
- Endovascular therapy
- Vascular surgery
Speak to your doctor about which treatment option or combination of treatment options might work best for you.
WHAT ARE P.A.D. “HOT SPOTS”?
P.A.D. “Hot Spots” are certain cities in the United States which research determined have a high incidence of P.A.D. Those cities are Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Memphis, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Miami. Visit www.PADfacts.org for a complete ranking.
For more information on Peripheral Artery Disease or P.A.D. please visit www.PADfacts.org.
Last Reviewed: January 1, 2015