Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects more than 12 million people in the United States and can be especially problematic for patients with chronic wounds. People with PAD commonly suffer from chronic toe and foot sores, cramping leg muscles when walking or numbness, weakness or heaviness in the muscles. Other PAD symptoms include:


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Common risk factors for PAD include high blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, low blood levels of HDL cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity.

According to the American College of Physicians, the most important thing patients can do to prevent PAD or slow it down is to avoid tobacco products. On average, smokers are diagnoses with PAD up to 10 years earlier than non-smokers, and The Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition states that smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day may increase the risk of PAD by 30 percent.

Smoking has a number of adverse affects on the vascular system, including:

Diabetics are 2-4 times more likely to have PAD than non-diabetics. PAD likelihood is increased even more for African American or Hispanic diabetics. Diabetics with PAD will find that controlling their diabetes by regulating blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels is absolutely critical. It is important that they: