Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) - also referred to as peripheral vascular disease (PVD) - is a common but serious condition in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. With PAD, the extremities – most often the legs – do not receive enough blood flow. PAD may also be a sign of atherosclerosis, a more widespread build-up of plaque in arteries. In patients with atherosclerosis, this underlying condition may be reducing blood flow to the heart and brain, as well as the legs.
While many people with PAD have mild or no symptoms, these symptoms should be brought to your doctor’s attention:
- Leg pain, leg cramping, or fatigue in the hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs
- Foot or toe pain at rest. The severity of the foot, toe or leg pain varies from mild discomfort to debilitating pain and may be intense enough to disrupt sleep.
- Skin wounds or ulcers on the toes, feet or legs that are slow to heal
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other leg
- No pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet
How common is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease affects about 10 million Americans and the number of new diagnoses continues to rise each year. Men are somewhat more likely than women to have PAD. Many people don’t know they have PAD, because the symptoms of peripheral artery disease can be silent or confused with other disorders, like arthritis.
The PAD facts:
- One in 20 people over the age of 50 has PAD
- African Americans are more than twice as likely to have PAD as Caucasians, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Team Approach to Patient Care
Specially trained cardiologists who focus on the managing the peripheral vascular system see patients with vascular disease. These specialists work in collaboration with a team of clinicians from multiple disciplines, including:
- Primary Care
- Diabetes and Podiatric Medicine
- Vascular Medicine and Intervention
- Vascular Surgery
- Vascular Imaging and Intervention
- Nutrition and Physical Therapy
- Wound Care