Wonder what’s happening in the Peripheral Artery Disease space right now?

April 2021


Peripheral artery disease is a disease that affects the larger blood vessels in the body. It leads to narrowing of the arteries which then makes it harder for blood flow throughout the body. This can result in pain, disability, and even death if not caught early enough. Peripheral artery disease is typically caused by smoking or diabetes.


Peripheral artery disease is a condition which can affect the arteries in your legs, hips, arms, abdomen and kidneys. The symptoms are similar to those of coronary heart disease caused by blockage of the main arteries that supply blood to your heart. It can be associated with smoking and diabetes but it mainly affects people over 60 years old who have never smoked or people with diabetes who also have high blood pressure.


Symptoms include leg pain when walking upstairs or immediately after exercise, heaviness in the leg muscles, skin ulcers on the feet and ankles (sometimes mistaken for pressure sores). The pain can be very severe leading to restless sleep and depression. If the blood flow to the affected tissue is reduced, symptoms can range from very mild to life-threatening. 


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects arteries in your legs, hips, arms, abdomen and kidneys. The symptoms are similar to those of coronary heart disease caused by blockage of the main arteries that supply blood to your heart. In fact it can be associated with smoking and diabetes; however, it mainly affects people over 60 years old who have never smoked or people with diabetes who also have high blood pressure.


The following symptoms are often experienced by people with PAD. This list is not exhaustive and the symptoms may vary from person to person:


Further assessment may reveal:


Sedentary lifestyle; unhealthy dietary habits including high intake of saturated fats and simple sugars, lack of fresh fruit and vegetables; high alcohol consumption; high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes mellitus, smoking, lack of exercise (sports), excessive weight gain or loss are among the important risk factors for the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Other risk factors include ageing, family history, and inherited conditions such as Marfan syndrome.


Recent research indicates that statin drugs can reduce the progression of the disease in patients with PAD. PAD can be treated and controlled by controlling risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking; and lifestyle changes including regular exercise and dietary modifications to reduce body weight if necessary. A healthy diet should be rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high in fibre foods (especially soluble fibre), low in saturated fats, salt (sodium) and sugar (particularly simple sugars), moderate in alcohol consumption, reduced intake of food high in cholesterol (e.g., eggs) and low in trans-fatty acids for those who do not already take this kind of foodstuff.


PAD not only affects arteries in the feet and legs, but can also affect other peripheral arteries such as those that supply blood to organs like kidneys and bowel as well as others that supply blood flow to organs like the heart, brain or lungs.


Chronic PAD


More common in older adults, chronic PAD makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood as efficiently. When this happens, symptoms may include:


Permanent damage to the arteries of the lower extremities can lead to Ulcer development (see below). In addition, permanent damage can also lead to:


Atherosclerosis is a disease that affects large and medium-sized arteries. It begins when plaque builds up inside an artery and narrows the lumen (opening) of the artery. Atherosclerosis can affect arteries anywhere in the body, including those that supply blood flow to organs like heart or brain or even those that supply blood flow to our limbs such as feet and hands.

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