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American Heart Month: Fight Off PAD and Heart Disease

Heart Health Month February 2024

Heart Health Month: The Connection Between PAD and Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month, a time to prioritize heart health and understand the dangers of heart disease. But did you know that both peripheral artery disease (PAD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) share a common root cause: atherosclerosis? This gradual narrowing of arteries can be a silent threat, but understanding its causes and taking action can help mitigate the risks.

Cardiovascular heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., with more than 900,000 people dying from it annually. Heart disease affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities.1

If you suffer or wonder if you have PAD, it’s important to be aware of the connection between PAD and heart disease and to understand the risk factors. Heart disease can affect everyone, but managing your prior health risks, activities, and diet can help you manage both diseases.

Since February is Heart Health Month, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the risks associated with PAD and to discover heart disease prevention tips that can reduce your chances of developing any vascular conditions. Learn more about protecting your heart health.

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Heart Disease Risks

Heart disease is a common term that describes a group of serious health conditions that significantly affect the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease.

The American Heart Association statistics show that 127.9 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. 

Heart disease occurs when the arteries leading to the heart become clogged. Although heart disease has been around for thousands of years, many aspects of modern life exacerbate risk factors and make people more prone to heart disease and heart failure. Today, one in four deaths in the U.S. is attributable to heart disease.


  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese with a BMI of 35 or higher
  • Not enough physical activity
  • A diet that is high in sugars, saturated and trans-fats

Heart disease and vascular disease can come in many forms, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Signs And Symptoms of PAD

american heart health month infographic, facts about heart health

PAD is a serious condition that impacts over 12 million Americans aged 40 and above. At USA Vascular Clinics, we strive to raise PAD awareness, ensuring individuals are aware of the warning signs and symptoms. If PAD symptoms are left untreated, it can develop into a more severe condition, even leading to amputation in some cases. Signs of PAD include:

  • Leg pain
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Leg discoloration
  • Loss of hair on legs
  • Leg fatigue or heaviness
  • Leg cramping
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Pain that stops when at rest
  • Foot and leg pain that disturbs sleep
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • Non-healing wounds on feet or legs
  • One leg is cooler than the other
  • Cold or numb toes
  • Poor toenail growth

Take Our Free PAD Risk Assessment Quiz

Heart Disease Prevention Tips

Cardiovascular Awareness Month is the best time to start adjusting your lifestyle with heart disease prevention tips. Small lifestyle changes can improve your quality of life and help you prevent severe heart disease conditions. 

Here are eight heart disease prevention tips for a longer healthier life:

1. Prioritize Sleep 

Did you know irregular sleeping patterns can lead to high blood pressure or obesity? According to the CDC, individuals between the ages of 18-60 should get at least seven or more hours of sleep at night.7 Once you’re over the age of 61, you should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep. Better sleeping habits can also lower your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. Prioritizing sleep can also improve cognitive function and reduce stress and anxiety.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Extra weight can lead to a build-up of fatty tissue in your arteries. Your arteries are responsible for carrying blood to the heart. If too much fatty material in the blood is filtered to your heart, it could cause  irreversible damage to your vascular system. To protect yourself from cardiovascular diseases or a potential heart attack, try your best to maintain a healthy weight. Make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise and prioritize low-calorie foods.

3. Monitor Your Blood Pressure

According to the CDC, over 48.1% of adults have hypertension.5 The problem is only one in four adults have their hypertension under control.6 Since there aren’t many warning signs of high blood pressure, actively monitoring your blood pressure is the best way to identify early signs of hypertension and prevent serious heart conditions. 

4. Keep Your Cholesterol In Check

If you’re worried you might be at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to perform a cholesterol test to let you know if you’re at risk and should make adjustments to your diet.

Eat Healthy for a Healthy Heart

5. Eat Healthy

Avoid eating food that is high in saturated fat, and limit consumption of fast or processed foods to a minimum. Opt for fresh fruit or a sugar-free granola bar instead of french fries or potato chips. Although fast food is convenient, it wreaks havoc on arteries and leads to the development of plaque—a substance that blocks the arteries and leads to blood clots. Maintaining a healthy diet goes a long way to improving your heart and vascular health.

6. Take up a Heart-Healthy Habit

Staying active, eating healthy, and watching our weight are all important parts of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Pick a new heart-healthy habit like jogging or substituting sodas with water, and try to stick to it for a whole month.

7. Make a Consultation with a USA Vascular Centers Specialist

PAD is a progressive condition that can lead to heart attack, stroke, or limb amputation. Maintain your mobility and talk to one of our specialists.


Improving Your Heart and Vascular Health

Being healthier is not an easy feat, especially if you have lived most of your life doing relatively unhealthy things. At USA Vascular Centers, we want you to know we’re here to help. Your heart is a very important resource for the body and having any form of heart disease increases your risk for other conditions like Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

American Heart Month Fight Off PAD and Heart Disease

As you strive to become healthier and fight off PAD and heart disease, remember:

  • Don’t get overwhelmed. Every step you take brings you closer to a healthier heart.
  • Don’t do it alone. The journey is always easier to accomplish with good support; ask friends and family to join you.
  • Don’t get discouraged. It may seem hard to be healthy, but by taking small steps each day will make it easier to achieve your goal.
  • Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress: Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with family or friends.

At USA Vascular Centers, we specialize in stent angioplasty treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). If you or someone you know has high blood pressure or PAD, reach out to us today for a consultation.

The objective of our PAD treatment is to make your blood flow efficient and healthy and to improve your overall quality of life. Post-procedure medicines will help preserve your ability to be active and stabilize blockages already present in other arteries. You should also make some lifestyle changes, such as eating a low-cholesterol, low-fat and heart-healthy diet, and if you smoke, quit, to get the best outcomes from your non-surgical PAD treatment.

Visit a PAD center near you to take the first steps towards healthier legs and a healthier life.

Call us at 888.773.2193 or request an appointment online.


Don’t Forget to Wear Red On National Wear Red Day

The first Friday in February is National Wear Red Day. On this day, individuals are encouraged to wear red to show support for Heart Disease Month. Whether someone you know is struggling with PAD or cardiovascular disease or wants to raise heart disease awareness for heart disease, wearing red is a great way to show support for Cardiovascular Awareness Month and bring awareness to the leading cause of death in the United States

Wear Red On National Wear Red Day

Frequently Asked Questions Heart Disease

What is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

Peripheral artery disease is a condition where your arteries are narrowed, causing a decrease in blood flow to the arms and legs. The reduced blood flow can lead to leg numbness, shiny legs, skin discoloration, and hair loss. PAD is a serious medical condition. If you’re showing symptoms of PAD, we recommend setting an appointment with a vascular specialist to discuss treatment plans. 

How long can you live with heart disease?

Every heart disease is different. For example, according to the American Heart Association, individuals who suffer from a heart attack lose around 16 years of life, while people with heart failure lose around 10. The best way to extend your life expectancy is to prioritize healthier habits and to be mindful of the warning signs or symptoms.

Can PAD be reversed?

No, peripheral artery disease cannot be reversed. However, there are lifestyle changes and medications available to help lessen the severity of the symptoms. With the right heart disease prevention tips and healthier life choices, you can reduce your risk of developing other heart diseases and improve your overall quality of life.

What are the different types of heart disease?

There are over 30 different types of heart disease. Some of the most common diseases include heart failure, peripheral artery disease, and coronary artery disease. There are different symptoms and risk factors for all types of heart disease. If you’re exhibiting signs of lower peripheral heart disease, we recommend discussing your symptoms with a USA Vascular Centers Specialist.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fdhdsp%2Fdata_statistics%2Ffact_sheets%2Ffs_heart_disease.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  3. ​​Professional Heart Daily. https://professional.heart.org/en/science-news/health-disparities-in-peripheral-artery-disease
  4. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings
  5. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
  6. Million Hearts. https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/data-reports/hypertension-prevalence.html
  7. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

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