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Cardiovascular Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

PAD is a serious problem that affects 8 million to 12 million Americans. PAD results from plague or fatty deposits building up and causing a disruption of blood flow in blood vessels outside the heart or brain. While the legs are most common site for PAD, it is also found in the kidneys, stomach and arms. Untreated, it can lead to amputation, heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of PAD are often mistaken for a passing condition of no consequence. About 75 percent of people with PAD don’t know they have the disease. For example, people with PAD can experience leg pain when they walk, which goes away when they rest. Other symptoms include pain, cramping or fatigue in the thighs, calves, hips or buttocks; foot pain that continues after exercise; and foot, toe or lower leg wounds that take too long to heal.

picture of couple walking

People most susceptible to PAD are:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Smokers
  • Diabetic
  • Overweight
  • From families with histories of cardiovascular disease or diabetes


The Ankle Brachial Index is a simple screening test used to diagnose PAD. The test involves measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm during rest and after activity.


For many people with PAD, simple lifestyle changes are sufficient to reduce the symptoms to acceptable levels. In these cases, patients are advised to lose weight, exercise, quit smoking and adopt a healthier diet.

Another treatment option available is the new, minimally invasive plaque excision procedure, which enables doctors to remove blockages quickly and easily.

Some patients with severe PAD may require surgery to restore blood flow to affected areas.

Follow Up

If you fit the profile described above, contact your health care provider or call the Leg Circulation Center Desert Springs Hospital at (702) 369-7979 for a free screening.



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