What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a common, yet serious, vascular disease that affects more than eight million people in the United States. It occurs when extra cholesterol and other fats circulating in the blood collect in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to your limbs. This buildup – called plaque – narrows your arteries, often reducing or blocking the flow of blood. PAD is most commonly seen in the legs, but can also be present in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys and stomach. Many individuals with PAD suffer from an inability to walk as far or as fast as they could in the past. This can become lifestyle-limiting, and even debilitating.
People who have PAD are more likely to have foot problems. Minor foot injuries can cause sores or ulcers that can turn into serious infections. If these sores are not treated right away, they may lead to losing a toe, foot or leg. In fact, PAD is one of the leading causes of foot or leg amputations in the United States. Finding and treating PAD early can help keep your legs healthy, lower your risk for heart attack or stroke, and save your life and limbs.