Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when leg arteries become narrowed or blocked by plaque. These blockages can result in severe pain for patients, limited physical mobility, and life-threatening non-healing leg ulcers. According to the American Heart Association, this condition affects approximately 8 to 12 million Americans. With only about 25 percent of PAD patients undergoing treatment, it is a disease that is largely under-diagnosed and under-treated. If left untreated, PAD can lead to critical leg ischemia, a condition where not enough blood is being delivered to the leg to keep the tissue alive. Total loss of circulation to the legs and feet can cause gangrene and lead to amputation.
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Peripheral artery disease develops silently, narrowing blood vessels for decades until the supply of nutrients and oxygen falls low enough to cause cramps and leg pain.
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The lifetime risk of lower-extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which leg arteries narrow abnormally, is about 30 percent for black men and 28 percent for black women, with lower but still-substantial risks for Hispanics and whites, according to a study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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The system connects the arteries to the veins. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the adult human body.
A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that cigarette smoking boosts the risk of peripheral artery disease, and this elevated risk can persist up to 30 years after smoking cessation.
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Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered an ingredient vital for proper blood vessel formation that explains why numerous promising treatments have failed.