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Wear the Gown: Peripheral Artery Disease

Wear the Gown: Peripheral Artery Disease

Dr. Anand Prasad, interventional cardiologist at University Health, discusses a lesser-known heart condition called peripheral artery disease. Dr. Prasad also mentions plaque buildup due to cholesterol-based plaque and can happen in any artery in the body.

“They end up coming to the hospital too late, when they’ve already had damage to their heart, or let’s say they have a stroke,” Dr. Prasad said. “They come in when they’ve already had damage to the brain.”

A lesser-known condition is called peripheral artery disease, or PAD. It is also sometimes known as peripheral vascular disease. Those with heart disease are more likely to develop PAD.

Other risk factors for PAD are:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Having a history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or PAD
  • Having diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Using tobacco products

“Plaque buildup due to cholesterol can happen in any artery in the body,” Dr. Prasad said. “It can happen in your heart arteries, or your coronary arteries, and that causes heart attacks and chest pain.”

PAD can also happen in arteries in your neck, legs and arms. A more extreme form of PAD that can present itself is called critical limb ischemia.

“Critical limb ischemia occurs when there is such insufficient flow in the limb that you’re at risk of losing the limb,” Dr. Prasad said. “It’s often related to ulcerations or wounds that develop, particularly in people with diabetes.”

The ankle brachial index test (ABI) compares the blood pressure in your arms to the blood pressure in your legs. The ABI test uses a blood pressure cuff and a Doppler ultrasound device to determine your blood pressure. “If the pressure is lower in your legs than your arms, then you may have poor circulation,” Dr. Prasad said.

Heart and Vascular Care at University Health

Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns about PAD. Ask for a referral to University Health’s renowned Heart and Vascular Institute. Our providers can help you live your healthiest life.

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