Peripheral Artery Disease: More Than Just an Ache

Those pains and cramps you feel in your legs when you climb stairs, exercise, or simply walk may be more than your old bones talking. They may be your muscles’ way of signaling the brain that they’re not getting enough blood during exercise.


If that’s the case, you’re at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and amputation of your lower limbs.


This condition, known as peripheral artery disease, or PAD, occurs when fatty deposits build up on the walls of arteries outside of the heart — typically those supplying the pelvis, legs, feet, and arms with blood. The pain usually subsides when we stop moving because less active muscles require less blood nourishment.


PAD afflicts 8 million people and its prevalence increases with age. However, only 26 percent of adults 50 and older — those at greatest risk — are aware of PAD, according to the American Heart Association.

“PAD is often under-recognized because so many of us ignore early signs or we simply are not active enough to have symptoms,” says Newsmax health contributor Dr. Peter Hibberd.

© 2011 Newsmax. All rights reserved

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