Peripheral Artery Disease Risk Factors

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can have a significant impact on your life and mobility. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, which is fat and cholesterol that builds up in the arteries, affecting circulation by reducing blood flow in your legs. This can make it difficult for you to climb stairs or carry on with your daily routines as normal.

PAD can lead to several symptoms that cause pain and discomfort. However, not everyone has symptoms with PAD, especially in the early stages. That being said, as it progresses, you may be at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. 

If you have been diagnosed with PAD or think you might have it, contact USA Vascular Centers for a consultation on our website.

What Are the Risk Factors of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

There are certain factors that put you at a higher risk for developing PAD. They include the following:

  • Age: Patients over the age of 50 have a higher likelihood of developing PAD.
  • Gender: Men are more commonly affected by PAD.
  • Diet: A diet high in fat can increase the amount of plaque buildup, which maylead to atherosclerosis.
  • Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact circulation and your arteries. Lack of activity increases the risk for high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and other health conditions.
  • Personal or family history: Family members who have a history of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or vascular disease puts you at a higher risk for PAD.
  • Race: Individuals of African-American or Hispanic descent have a higher risk for developing PAD.

The fact is, the more PAD risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop the condition. Schedule an online consultation with our exceptional PAD specialists if any of these symptoms appear and you fall into the above categories. 

What Are Some Significant PAD Risk Factors?

While all peripheral artery disease risk factors should be considered, some are of greater importance than others. Certain components play a direct role in the likelihood that you will develop PAD. Some of these are also preventable, which gives you more control over your health.

According to the American Family Physician, the most significant risk factors for a person to develop PAD include the following:

  • High cholesterol: High cholesterol can increase plaque buildup and atherosclerosis.
  • High blood pressure: A person with high blood pressure has a higher risk for plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Diabetes: If a person has diabetes, the risk for developing PAD goes up.
  • Chronic kidney disease: Chronic inflammation, which is a symptom of chronic kidney disease, increases the risk of developing PAD.
  • Smoking: People who smoke or have smoked in the past are more likely to be diagnosed with PAD, along with those who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

When three or more of these factors are present, the risk for PAD increases by 10-fold. If you believe you might be at risk of developing peripheral artery disease, take our PAD Risk Assessment quiz. With your results, follow up with one of our specialists who can walk you through your results and provide appropriate next steps.

Health-Related PAD Risk Factors

Four of the top PAD risk factors are related to health. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease can all increase your chances of developing PAD. The good news is that you can manage and sometimes even prevent these risk factors with lifestyle changes.

A healthier lifestyle is based partially on what you eat, with diet being a contributing issue for PAD. A high-fiber, low-sugar, and low-fat diet can help reduce the likelihood of developing those conditions that can lead to PAD.

Exercise is also critical since it can improve cardiovascular health. Walking is the top recommended exercise for PAD patients, and incorporating it into your daily schedule is as simple as a neighborhood walk. Being active throughout the day, even for short bursts, helps keep blood and oxygen circulating throughout your system. 

Genetic Factors Contributing to Risk of Developing PAD

Heredity aspects play a key role in the risk of PAD. If you have an immediate family member, diagnosed with PAD, heart disease, vascular disease, or high blood pressure, you have a greater risk of developing the condition.

In addition to family history, ethnicity is another genetic risk factor for PAD. Patients who are African-American have an increased risk for developing PAD over those of other ethnic backgrounds.

Schedule Your Consultation at USA Vascular Today

If you are at a higher risk for developing PAD or suspect you may already suffer from the condition, USA Vascular Centers can help. Our vascular specialists offer a minimally invasive treatment to help reduce the symptoms of PAD, all while dealing with the risk factors. Contact us today for a consultation to help you find a solution. Give us a call at (888) 773-2193 to learn more about what we do.



Timely detection and treatment of PAD can improve the quality of your life; help you keep your independence and mobility; and reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, leg amputation, and even death.