Who is at risk for peripheral arterial disease (PAD)?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, or plaque. As a result, blood flow is restricted.

PAD can start in young adults but progresses slowly, so risk increases with age. It’s most common in men and women over 50 and affects 12% to 20% of those 65 and older. Other risk factors include a family history or diagnosis of heart disease or diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle and smoking, past or present. But in some cases, PAD isn’t linked to risk factors. It’s caused by infection or trauma to the arms or legs.

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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.