Peripheral Artery Disease

Did you know

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is estimated to affect over 202 million people worldwide1.

The disease itself forms via atherosclerosis, a condition defined by a build-up of plaque (or fatty deposits) within the arteries. This plaque build-up causes the arteries supplying the limbs (known as the peripheral arteries) to narrow and harden, thereby restricting blood flow to the limbs2, 3.

Risk factors

What you can change:


What you can’t change:

Symptoms

Half of people with PAD do not experience any symptoms, however those that do may have symptoms including3, 4:

  • > Leg pain or cramping
  • (the most common symptom)
  • > Leg weakness and/or numbness
  • > Sores on feet and/or legs that will not heal
  • > Changing skin colour
  • > Shiny skin on legs

Treatment

The current standard of treatment includes lifestyle changes, prescription medication, and sometimes surgery6.

Medications7, 9

For cholesterol control
Statins
For high blood pressure
Antihypertensives
For diabetes control
Insulin / antiglycaemic drugs
For blood clot prevention
Antiplatelets

Main surgeries7

Angioplasty
Peripheral revascularisation
If experiencing:
acute limb ischaemia; or critical limb ischaemia, when in the chronic (longer term) and not acute stage
Bypass surgery

Complications

1. Acute (meaning sudden) limb ischaemia
Acute decrease in blood flow to the limb due to plaque build-up in the peripheral arteries5.
2. Amputation
If blood flow to the limbs is heavily restricted, this can result in tissue death or amputation4.

Your remaining risk

PAD patients are at higher risk of also having coronary artery disease and other vascular diseases and are therefore at risk of associated complications such as heart attack and stroke, should plaque build-up block blood flow to the heart and/or brain9, 10.

It is important to understand that your risk of further complications may still remain even after preventative treatment as plaque build-up can still occur. This is why it is necessary to monitor your vascular health and take necessary steps to control plaque build-up and keep your quality of life as good as it can be.
Scientists are also undertaking research in an area called vascular protection, to explore how risks for further complications can be lowered.

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