Effective Resources for PAD

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis, which occurs when atherosclerotic plaque narrows arteries and decreases blood flow to the legs. An estimated 8 to 10 million people have PAD, and the disease is most prevalent in older persons. Individuals with atherosclerotic risk factors are at increased risk for PAD. Two of the cardinal risk factors are cigarette smoking and diabetes; patients who either smoke or have diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop PAD than others.  As atherosclerosis is a systemic disorder, patients with PAD are at increased risk of having coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, and consequently myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death. Risk factor modification and antiplatelet therapy are indicated to prevent these adverse cardiovascular events. About 10% of people with diabetes older than 40 have PAD, but many who show warning signs don’t realize that they have it and will not get treated for it. The most characteristic symptom is intermittent claudication, variably described as an ache, cramp pain, or fatigue in the calf, thigh, or even buttocks, that develops while walking and resolves with rest, among others.  Severe PAD may cause foot pain at rest, and result in skin ulceration or gangrene. If PAD is not detected, then appropriate therapies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, improve leg symptoms, and prevent limb loss may not be instituted in a timely manner. Screening is Paramount According to current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines, screening for PAD is recommended for all patients with diabetes older than 50, people older than 50 who smoke, and everyone older...