Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Limb Loss
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a form of artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). In PAD, fat builds up inside the artery (blood vessel) walls. Over time, this causes a blockage that can keep your blood from flowing properly. PAD may result in blockages in the brain, arms, kidneys, and legs.
Diabetes is a major cause of PAD. People with diabetes are unable to properly digest the sugar they eat. This sugar builds up and causes changes in their blood vessels. These changes lead to circulation problems. PAD is a risk factor for foot ulcers that can lead to amputation in diabetic patients.
How many people have PAD?
- As many as 10 million people in the United States have PAD.
- In 1996, an estimated 128,588 individuals lost a limb because of PAD.
What are the risk factors?
- Diabetes. People with diabetes are at greater risk for severe PAD. People with diabetes are five times more likely to have an amputation due to PAD.
- Age. The risk of limb loss due to PAD increases with age. People 65 or older are two to three times more likely to have an amputation.
- Gender. Men with PAD are twice as likely to undergo an amputation as women.
- Race/ethnicity. Some racial and ethnic groups have a higher risk of amputation (i.e., African Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans). This is because they are at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How do I prevent or manage PAD?
To prevent or control the progression of PAD:
- Contact the American Heart Association for information.
- Contact the American Diabetes Association for information.
- Stop and exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthful diet.
- Get regular checkups and follow your doctors orders.
- Work with your healthcare team to manage your PAD.
Reprinted with permission of the Amputee Coalition of America.
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