PAD refers to diseased peripheral arteries wherein they become hardened and narrowed. It is a “silent” condition that often has no symptoms. More than 20 percent of people over age 70 in this country have PAD. Some variations include:
Carotid artery disease – Narrowing of one or more carotid arteries in the neck, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. When plaque in the carotid arteries becomes very severe, a stroke can occur. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the nation today. Even stroke survivors are frequently left with permanent physical and mental disabilities.
PAD of the lower extremities (legs) – Narrowing of one or more arteries in the leg. This condition leads to pain and ulcers that don’t heal, or amputation of a limb.
PAD of the renal arteries – Narrowing of one or more renal arteries leading to the kidneys. Renal artery blockages can lead to hypertension or kidney failure and the need for dialysis.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) – Ballooning out of part of the abdominal aorta wall that is a section of the blood vessel supplying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. AAA is the number three cause of sudden death in the nation.
Raynaud syndrome – A reversible condition where the fingers or toes start throbbing and turning a whitish color because a contraction (vasospasm) of the small arteries has interfered with blood flow.