If you consider that nearly half of adults in the United States have cardiovascular disease — which is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels — you realize that it’s time to pay very close attention to this area of your health. One of the most common types of cardiovascular disease is peripheral artery disease (PAD), which affects 8.5 million American adults.
In order to prevent this condition from taking hold, it’s important to know — and mitigate wherever possible — your risks for developing PAD. To that end, interventional cardiologist Farhad Aduli, MD, FACC, and our team here at Louisiana Heart and Vascular in Covington, Louisiana, are taking this opportunity to review what you should know about PAD.
Arteries carry blood from your heart to cells throughout your body. Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which arteries that carry blood to your limbs become narrowed.
A common cause of this narrowing is atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty plaque deposits build up in the arteries. This buildup can prevent blood from flowing properly to your arms and legs, though the condition most commonly manifests in the legs.
There are many risk factors when it comes to developing PAD. Some can’t be helped, but others can.
For example, the older you are, the more vulnerable you are to developing PAD, which is why being age 60 or older is considered a risk factor. As well, African Americans have a higher risk for developing PAD.
While these risk factors are out of your control, there are others that you can have control over, such as the following:
Topping the list of risk factors is smoking. If you smoke, you’re three times more likely to develop PAD.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, PAD is a clear and present danger, which is why it’s so important to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you have hypertension, you may have some degree of atherosclerosis, which, as we mentioned earlier, can lead to PAD.
Having high cholesterol is one of the primary drivers of atherosclerosis and, subsequently, PAD.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not encouraging good circulation, which can lead to plaque buildup in your blood vessels that causes PAD to develop.
If you have PAD, you may develop outward signs of the problem, such as leg pain, but four out of 10 people with PAD don’t experience this symptom. In other words, you may not realize that PAD is developing, which is why understanding your risk factors is so important.
If you know you’re at greater risk for developing PAD, you should come see us for a cardiology consultation, and we can perform an evaluation of your arterial health.
If we find that you have some degree of PAD, we can design a treatment plan to help offset your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Most of our treatment plans include lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and quitting smoking, as well as medications that can help your blood flow more freely.
If you don’t have PAD but we determine that you’re at risk for developing the condition, we can help you take the steps necessary to prevent the disease from developing.
If you have PAD and want treatment, or if you have questions about PAD or your risks, book an appointment online or over the phone with Louisiana Heart and Vascular today. Located in Covington, Louisiana, we also serve patients from Mandeville and Slidell.