PAD develops mostly as a result of atherosclerosis, a condition that occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming a substance called plaque, which narrows and clogs the arteries and slows blood flow to the legs. Since plaque blocks the smaller leg arteries first, PAD is considered a red flag for several life-threatening vascular diseases, such as heart attack (the number one killer in this country) and stroke. Symptomssuch as leg pain while walking, numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet, coldness in the lower legs and feet, or ulcers or sores on the legs or feet that don't healcould be PAD warning signs. The disease's progression results in death for about one-third of patients.
With early detection, patients could be sent to an interventional radiologist sooner when intervention is most effective and less invasive treatments are an option. In many cases, PADand its progressioncan be treated with medication, lifestyle changes (such as smoking cessation), diet and a structured exercise program. If needed, interventional radiologists can perform minimally invasive angioplasty and/or stenting to open a blocked artery in the leg and restore blood flow.
In September, free testing is available for PAD at nearly 100 Legs for Life sites around the country. The ABI, a simple and painless test, compares the blood pressure in the legs to the blood pressure in the arms to determine how well the blood is flowing and if additional tests are needed. More than 322,000 people have been screened to date, with one in four at risk for PAD. Select sites will a
|Contact: Maryann Verrillo|
Society of Interventional Radiology