During American Heart Month and PAD Awareness Month it is important to understand the connection between PAD and heart disease. There is an association between heart disease and peripheral arterial disease. Many people tend to focus on heart disease but don’t consider the narrowing or hardening of the arteries outside of the heart.
PAD most commonly occurs in the legs but can also occur in the kidney arteries, liver arteries, and more. Peripheral arteries are any arteries that are outside of the heart. Up to 2/3 of patients with Coronary Artery Disease also have Peripheral Artery Disease. Unfortunately, evaluations for PAD are not common when patients get a CAD diagnosis. One of the most basic tests that can be done to detect PAD is an Ankle Brachial Index. It compares the pressures in the arms to those in the legs.
Leg Pain Can Indicate Risk for a Heart Attack or Stroke
Peripheral artery disease that causes leg pain can be indicative of heart issues. People that have PAD are at a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack. This could be a sign that the coronary arteries are blocked and the blood flow is reduced. It is common for people to ignore a pain in their legs, especially when it comes and goes. One of the symptoms of peripheral artery disease is intermittent claudication, which is temporary pain in the legs or feet during exercise. Typically, there is relief from the pain with rest. Therefore, many people may develop PAD but not know that they have it because they do not know what to look out for. Watch the video to learn more about peripheral artery disease and how it is related to heart disease. You will also learn why it is important to have PAD evaluations if you have any of the risk factors or signs of PAD.