How common is peripheral artery disease (PAD)?

Peripheral artery disease affects anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the population. It’s often underrecognized. If people feel like they have symptoms that may be concerning for peripheral artery disease, they should talk to their doctor.

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More than 10 million Americans suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), and yet many people don't know what it is or how to treat it. About half the people with PAD do not know they have it. PAD is when you have blockages in the arteries that lead to your legs, feet, arms, or kidneys. (Blockages in the arteries leading to the kidneys are often referred to more specifically as renal artery stenosis.)

If left untreated, the disease that causes PAD (atherosclerosis) can cause serious and even life-threatening complications, including gangrene, heart attack, and stroke. Fortunately, PAD can often be detected through a simple, non-invasive test called an ankle-brachial index, and it is treatable through lifestyle changes, medications, and minimally invasive and surgical procedures.

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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.