How Common Is Peripheral Artery Disease Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Peripheral artery disease is commonly noticed in older adults who are aged 60 and above. However, this is a rare condition in small children and young adults.(1)(2)

Peripheral artery diseases are generally asymptomatic and often not perceived up until a severe and often appalling problem occurs.(3)

Despite being a common problem, peripheral artery disease is neglected by physicians over the past several years. Peripheral artery disease also called peripheral vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries in your blood vessels.

During this condition, there is a buildup of cholesterol and fat in the inner walls of the arteries leading to decreased blood flow resulting in hypertension, strokes, and even death. PAD is most common in African American ethnicity and men are at increased risk of developing the disease when compared to women.

How Common Is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Arteries are vital channels that transport oxygenated blood from ventricles to different parts of the body. When the arteries are narrowed or clogged, it disrupts the flow of blood that goes from the brains to the tip of the toes. It eventually stops the fresh blood from reaching the other parts of the body causing damage. Many body parts are vulnerable to this attack and it becomes a major problem.

This problem hence requires more attention and diagnosis. Several new treatments are in place due to the advancement in techniques in recent times and they provide better results. Peripheral artery disease is more common in legs than in any other place and it mostly affects the aorta, the femoral, and popliteal arteries.

Peripheral artery disease is commonly noticed in older adults who are aged 60 and above. However, this is a rare condition in small children and young adults. It can occur in any blood vessel, but the prevalence is higher based on the age group. A study shows that more than 8 million people in America aged 40 and older have been diagnosed with PAD.1,2

Peripheral artery diseases are generally asymptomatic and often not perceived up until a severe and often appalling problem occurs. It is five times more common in men than women however premenopausal women with diabetes mellitus have a higher risk of acquiring the disease. Although some of its conditions remain unclear, Judith G. Regensteiner, Ph.D., Women’s Health Research in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease suggest that peripheral vascular disease usually present differently in women than men.3

Arteriosclerotic Diseases Including PAD Is Increasing

Intermittent claudication is the typical symptom of peripheral artery disease and may be present either with minimal or no symptoms. But this is mostly accompanied by greater functional impairment that is also caused by arteriosclerosis (a typical symptom of PAD). Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and relieve you from symptoms.

However, there are certain conditions of PAD known as Buerger’s disease wherein there is a blockage or narrowing of veins and arteries of the extremities. This is a rare condition and frequently affects young and middle-aged adults who have uncontrollable smoking habits. Buerger’s disease can result in reduced blood flow affecting the legs more than the arms.

Most patients encounter pain in lower legs and arms even at rest. This eventually affects their walking ability and triggers cramping when they walk. In extremely rare cases, the individual may suffer neurological abnormalities.

Even though PAD symptoms are only felt in the limbs, it affects blood vessels in several parts of the body. The condition that is left untreated can lead to other complications such as stroke, heartache, angina problems and may necessitate amputation of the limbs. On the contrary, several people still can live active lives when they follow lifestyle modifications with required medications. The more you are aware of the disease, the better you can control the disease.4,5

References:

  1. “Peripheral Artery Disease: Symptoms, Treatments, and Causes.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/188939.
  2. “Peripheral Vascular Disease.” Peripheral Vascular Disease | Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peripheral-vascular-disease.
  3. “What Kind of Disease Is PAD?” Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., www.otsuka.co.jp/en/health-and-illness/peripheral-artery-disease/about/.
  4. “Buerger’s Disease.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/buergers-disease/
  5. “Vascular Disease: Types, Causes, Treatment, Prevention.” WebMD, WebMD, 21 Oct. 2019, www.webmd.com/heart-disease/vascular-disease.

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