Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a relatively common, but serious disease that should never be left untreated. Often, lifestyle changes can help to lower your risk of PAD.
PAD is the narrowing of the peripheral arteries, commonly affecting the arteries in the legs. When you use your leg muscles, this increases the amount of blood that’s required. If you suffer from PAD, you know that moving can often be painful – this is because of narrow arteries that restrict the blood flow to your legs.
Today we are going to look at five common factors that increase the chance of PAD. Understanding the contributing factors can help you to learn more about this disease, and allows you to take action should you be at risk.
Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PAD. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside of the arteries. Over time, the buildup hardens, and the arteries narrow. When this happens, the flow of oxygen-rich blood becomes severely restricted.
2. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
If you have high blood pressure, or your family has a history of high blood pressure, your risk for PAD increases. High blood pressure forces the blood against the artery walls, and causes your heart to pump blood faster. If blood pressure remains too high for too long, it increases the risk of many serious diseases, including PAD.
An unhealthy lifestyle can also increase the chances of PAD. Lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity are contributing factors for PAD, and can increase your chances of high blood pressure, or diabetes –other contributing factors for PAD.
Having diabetes increases the risk of PAD. Since many symptoms of PAD are similar to common diabetes symptoms, many people with diabetes don’t realize they have PAD and it is left untreated. When left untreated, PAD may worsen and in some cases, can even lead to tissue death.
5. High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is needed for your body to function normally. Having high cholesterol however, can lead to some serious health conditions such as PAD. There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” since too much of this type can lead to harmful plaque buildup, which can lead to diseases such as PAD. HDL cholesterol carries away the excess cholesterol and breaks it back down to keep your cholesterol levels normal.
If left untreated, PAD can lead to serious problems. If you suspect that you have PAD, or if you have one or more of the risk factors above, it’s important to contact your healthcare professional to get screened for PAD. Stop PAD in its tracks –before it causes serious damage.