Roughly 20 million Americans are affected by peripheral artery disease (PAD), and September is a time to bring more awareness to the disease. PAD is often a treatable and manageable condition; however, if left untreated, it can result in limb amputation. Therefore, understanding the risk of PAD and symptoms is crucial.
Here are some factors that may increase your risk of PAD.
- Being over the age of 50
- Tobacco use
- Genetics or family members that also have peripheral artery disease
- Diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure
If you think you may be at risk or have any of the above conditions, please talk to your doctor.
More about peripheral artery disease
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) occurs when the narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. Many people experience a common symptom of leg pain, which results from not enough blood flow.
Treatment of PAD often includes lifestyle changes such as:
- Stopping tobacco use. If you’re having trouble quitting, call 1-866-NY-QUITS.
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Spreading awareness in September
It’s vital for more people to know about peripheral artery disease in order to diagnose and treat the disease early on. Often, people with PAD do not know they have the disease, and treatment later on may necessitate amputation.
Congress is even taking part in PAD awareness month this year, advocating for a better, more comprehensive understanding of the disease. Congress has launched the first-ever Congressional PAD Caucus “ to educate Congress and communities about PAD while supporting legislative activities to improve PAD research, education, and treatment, with the goal of preventing non-traumatic amputations due to PAD and other related diseases.”
The caucus has established a goal of preventing amputations and identified priorities for the 116th Congress to support this goal, including
- “U.S. Preventive Services Task Force should review screening for PAD for at-risk patients;
- The Administration should form an intragovernmental work group to implement a comprehensive amputation prevention program for PAD patients in Medicare, the IHS and other federal programs based on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Preventing Amputations in Veterans Everywhere (PAVE) program;
- Medicare should incent multidisciplinary review of PAD patients in Medicare; and
- Medicare should disallow non-traumatic amputations without arterial testing.”
Created by Representatives Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), the caucus will certainly spread awareness and increase the education surrounding this disease.
For more information, read our blog posts with more facts on PAD. And if you think you might be at risk for peripheral artery disease, talk to your doctor.