(BPT) - Frequent leg cramps, leg pain when walking and slow-to-heal sores on your feet are annoying, but did you know they can also be symptoms of a serious disease?
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) occurs when there is narrowing of the blood vessels (arteries) outside of the heart. Most frequently, PAD affects the arteries in the pelvis and legs, but it can also affect the arteries in the arms, kidneys and stomach, as well as the aorta, a major blood vessel that comes from the heart and supplies blood to the rest of the body. PAD in the legs occurs when the leg arteries become clogged with fatty deposits that can reduce blood flow to the legs and feet and, if left untreated, amputation may be necessary in severe cases.
PAD can also be a red flag that the same fatty deposit build-up is happening in blood vessels elsewhere in your body, putting you at a four to five times greater risk for having a heart attack or stroke. PAD affects 12 to 20 percent of Americans age 65 or older, yet only one-third of them have any symptoms, according to the American Heart Association. Even those who do experience PAD symptoms often fail to mention them to their doctor, so their PAD is left untreated.
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