Peripheral Artery Disease
(PAD; Peripheral Vascular Disease; PVD; Arteriosclerosis Obliterans)
DefinitionPeripheral artery disease (PAD) is disease of any blood vessel that is not part of the heart or brain. PAD is caused by deposits of fatty material in arteries of the legs. Since arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the cells of the body, a reduction in blood flow can cause organ failure.
CausesPAD is usually caused by a gradual buildup of plaque called atherosclerosis that happens within the arteries. Other causes include blood clots or embolisms, congenital heart disease, and inflammation of the blood vessels called vasculitis.
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Risk FactorsPAD is more common in men and in people over 50 years of age. Other factors that increase your chance of developing PAD include:
- Family history of PAD
- High blood pressure or family history of high blood pressure
- Stroke or family history of stroke
- High cholesterol or family history of high cholesterol
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