Is peripheral arterial disease related to heart disease?

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Michael J. Bloch, MD
Internal Medicine
In the vast majority of cases, both peripheral artery disease (PAD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) are both caused by a buildup of cholesterol plaque in the wall of the artery, known as atherosclerosis. Because of this shared pathology, if you look close enough, almost all patients with CAD also have PAD. Luckily, therapies to prevent worsening of both diseases is similar - we treat cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, get people to quit smoking and use blood thinners like aspirin.  In the setting of severe symptoms, both conditions can be treated by opening up the arteries with balloons and stents or through bypass surgery.
Justin P. Levisay, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is definitely related to heart disease in the sense that they share the same risk factors. Approximately 50% of people who have PAD have coronary artery disease as well. Anyone who has received the diagnosis of PAD should definitely have testing done to determine if he has coronary artery disease, as this can lead to a heart attack, which may be fatal.

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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.