One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a condition that raises the risk for heart attack and stroke. PAD develops when your veins and arteries become clogged with plaque-fatty deposits that limit blood flow to your legs.
Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs indicate a risk for heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup in the legs does not always present symptoms so many people can have PAD and do not know it. People who do experience symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, often do not report them, believing they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause.
Screening for Peripheral Arterial Disease compares the blood pressure in your arms with that in your legs using the Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) and Pulse Volume Recording (PVR). A significant difference may indicate a restricted blood flow in the legs from plaque build-up, which may mean the occurrence of PAD.
The cause of the plaque buildup in the limbs is unknown in most cases. However, there are some conditions and habits that raise your chance of developing PAD.
Risk factors for PAD include:
- Over the age of 50
- Smoker or former smoker
- High blood pressure (or Hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Personal history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke.
If any of these apply to you, don’t wait to come in for PAD screening at Manhattan Cardiology. Book your appointment today.