One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has P.A.D., a condition that raises the risk for heart attack and stroke. Peripheral arterial disease, or P.A.D., develops when your veins and arteries become clogged with plaque-fatty deposits that limit blood flow to your legs.

 

Measuring ABI and PVR waveforms for the presence of PAD. 

Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs mean you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup in the legs does not always cause symptoms, so many people can have P.A.D. and not know it. People who do experience symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, often do not report them, believing they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause.P.A.D. Screening
Peripheral Arterial Disease testing is done on the ankle-brachial index (ABI) and the Pulse Volume Recording (PVR) waveforms. This one medical method is non-invasive and painless. An ABI screening compares the blood pressure in your arms with that in your legs. A significant difference may indicate plaque build-up, which may mean the presence of peripheral arterial disease.

What Causes P.A.D?
The cause of plaque buildup in the limbs is unknown in most cases. However, there are some conditions and habits that raise your chance of developing P.A.D.

Most people with P.A.D. have one or more of these conditions or habits that raise the risk for heart disease. Your risk increases if you:

  • Are over the age of 50.
  • Smoke or used to smoke. Those who smoke or have a history of smoking have up to four times greater risk of P.A.D.
  • Have diabetes. One in every three people over the age of 50 with diabetes is likely to have P.A.D.
  • Have high blood pressure. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure raises the risk of developing plaque in the arteries.
  • Have high blood cholesterol. Excess cholesterol and fat in your blood contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, reducing or blocking blood flow to your heart, brain, or limbs.
  • Have a personal history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. If you have heart disease, you have a one in three chance of also having P.A.D.
  • Race can also be a factor. Studies have shown that some ethnic groups appear to be more prone to P.A.D. than others such as African Americans, who are more than twice as likely to have P.A.D. as their white counterparts.