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Common Risk Factors of Peripheral Artery Disease

Dr. Scott Brannan is managing physician at Modern Vascular in North Mesa, Arizona and Chief of Endovascaular Surgery at Modern Vascular. In this video, he discusses some inherent risk factors of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and how a quick screening could help diagnose and treat this condition.

What is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

Peripheral Artery Disease is the narrowing of peripheral arteries due to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup on arterial walls). This causes a decrease in blood flow to the legs, feet, and toes. Left untreated, PAD complications include critical limb ischemia, gangrene, and amputation.

Risk factors that greatly increase the likelihood of developing Peripheral Artery Disease are increasing age, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.

Diabetes and PAD

Diabetes can lead to neuropathy and below-the-knee amputation. The path to this result goes through Peripheral Artery Disease. Sadly, many people with diabetes or peripheral neuropathy don’t know about PAD and can often miss or confuse the related signs and symptoms such as:

  • numbness or weakness in legs
  • sores on toes or feet
  • legs that don’t heal
  • discoloration in legs
  • painful cramping in legs after walking on an incline or climbing stairs

If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs or symptoms, please schedule a consultation. If you don’t have these symptoms, but have any of the following risk factors please get a comprehensive evaluation for PAD regularly:

  • over 65
  • over 50 with a history of diabetes
  • over 50 with a history of smoking
  • under 50 with diabetes and other PAD risk factors
    • obesity
    • high blood pressure
    • high cholesterol

Early diagnosis and successful treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease prevents amputation and saves lives.

Left untreated, Peripheral Artery Disease can result in the development of foot ulcers, non-healing sores, and areas of nerve damage that eventually become dead tissue due to restricted blood flow. This stage of PAD leads to a below-the-knee amputation. Prevention is always the best medicine and it can save your toes, feet, legs, and life. Please don’t ignore PAD; get a comprehensive evaluation regularly.