If I'm treated for PAD, am I still at risk for cardiovascular issues?


The interventions and treatments that restore blood flow to the leg do not change your history of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

You will still have an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke, so your doctor typically will want you to stay on medication for a long time. The best way to lower your risk is to avoid smoking and control your weight and blood sugar levels. 

It is important to remember that medication and procedures such as angioplasty, stenting and surgery do not cure peripheral artery disease (PAD). We continue to accumulate plaque (a fatty substance) in our arteries throughout our lives. Arteries that supply blood to the legs or feet can become blocked again after they have been treated. A re-narrowing of the artery, called restenosis, may cause you to experience leg or foot pain again. If you feel pain after you have been treated, call your doctor. A second procedure may be needed to widen the artery again.

Additionally, the underlying disease process (atherosclerosis) that involves accumulation of plaque in arteries also places us at risk for heart disease and stroke. Battling cardiovascular disease is a lifelong process of treatment in conjunction with lifestyle changes that can help prevent disease or slow the progression of existing disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.