Peripheral arterial disease affects the arteries of the circulatory system. The arteries are blood vessels responsible for moving oxygenated blood from the heart to the entire body. The condition typically affects the arteries that transport blood to the legs and arms.
The pace in which peripheral arterial disease progresses tends to vary for each individual and based on various factors including the site where the plaque formed and overall health of the individual.
An individual is at high risk for developing peripheral arterial disease if one or several of these risk factors are present:
- Age – individuals aged 50 and older are at higher risk
- High blood pressure
- Race – African Americans face a higher risk than other groups
- High cholesterol
- History of heart or blood vessel disease
What are the conditions linked with peripheral arterial disease?
If the condition is not properly treated, an individual with peripheral arterial disease can end up with serious health issues including:
- Heart attack – lasting damage to the heart muscle due to diminished supply of blood to the heart for a prolonged period
- Transient ischemic attack – this involves brief disruption in the blood supply to the brain
- Stroke – there is interruption or disruption in the flow of blood to the brain
- Amputation – the removal of a part or the entire foot or leg might be performed among individuals with diabetes
- Renal artery disease – this involves blockage or narrowing of the artery that supplies blood to the kidneys