Why does peripheral artery disease matter?
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, happens when fatty deposits build up in arteries outside the heart, usually the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the arms, legs and feet.
Is PAD dangerous or life threatening?
Yes, PAD can be dangerous because these blockages can restrict circulation to your limbs and organs. Without adequate blood flow, your vital organs, arms, legs and feet can suffer damage. Left untreated, the tissue can become infected or die, a condition called gangrene. Limb amputation is a serious complication of PAD. Left untreated, PAD may also increase your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
Does PAD cause additional health problems?
PAD may be the first warning sign of atherosclerosis – the buildup of fatty plaque in the artery walls that narrows and blocks them throughout the body, including in the heart, brain, arms, legs, pelvis, kidneys and other organs. Fatty deposits also increase the risk for vascular inflammation and blood clots that can block the blood supply and cause tissue death.
PAD is potentially a life-threatening condition but it can be managed.