Don’t Ignore the Signs. Early Detection Can Make a Difference in PAD.
As you get older, you might assume that some of the aches and pains you’re experiencing are just a normal part of aging.
Maybe you have frequent discomfort in your legs and feet, and you figure it’s just poor circulation. But poor circulation can be an actual disease — a serious condition called Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. (Peripheral Artery Disease, a potentially life threatening disease where plaque, like calcium, builds up along blood vessel walls, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the legs and feet.).
PAD can occur when blood flow in your legs and feet is restricted by narrowed Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood to your heart and other parts of your body. due to plaque (e.g., calcium) build-up. PAD is a serious disease — left untreated, it can lead to To surgically remove all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe).9
Of course, your body will change the older you get. But you shouldn’t dismiss things like pain while walking or one foot being colder than the other as a normal part of aging.
One in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has PAD,50 and many people living with the disease don’t show any symptoms. You can learn more about the symptoms of PAD and the risk factors on the other pages of this website.
Only a doctor can diagnose you with PAD, and it’s important to talk to a health care professional about how you feel. A simple screening test called an This is the ratio of the systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured at the ankle to that measured in the arm artery. It is sometimes also called the ankle-arm index. (ABI) can help a doctor determine if you’re at risk.
There is good news: If you do have PAD, early detection and treatment could help stop the disease from getting worse. Many treatment options are available. They could reduce pain, improve walking ability and enhance your quality of life.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend diet changes, exercise and/or medications. If that is unsuccessful, your doctor may also recommend a In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons use a variety of techniques to operate with less injury to the body than with open surgery. In general, it is safer than open surgery and allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring. treatment or procedure.51
More good news: Treatment options for PAD are constantly advancing, and today’s techniques are different than they were just five years ago.51 So don’t wait to call your doctor to talk about PAD. Early detection is important.
If you want to see a PAD specialist, use our Find a Doctor tool to locate one near you.