PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as claudication, poor circulation, vascular disease, or hardening of arteries, is a chronic, life-threatening circulatory condition. PAD causes narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. The primary cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This occurs when arterial inflammation, cholesterol, calcium and scar tissue build up, forming plaque that clogs the arteries and slows blood flow to the legs. The more plaque that builds up on the inside walls of the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to legs and arms, the more the arteries lose flexibility and narrow, putting patients at greater risk.
Risk factors for PAD, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and age over 60. PAD patients are also at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects around 21 million Americans and has significant economic implications, costing up to $539 billion. In fact, a study found that PAD-related expenses accounted for over 2 percent of all Medicare spending.
Diabetes, on the other hand, affects approximately 37.3 million adults in the United States, which is around 11.3 percent of the population. People with diabetes face the risk of developing complications such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and nerve damage, which can lead to lower extremity amputations. This is a serious concern. Patients with diabetes are susceptible to foot ulcers that, if left untreated and infected, may require amputation.
Every three minutes in the United States, a limb is amputated due to diabetes - most of which are preventable.
Additionally, it is important to address health equity issues as amputation rates are significantly higher among Black, Native American, and Hispanic patients compared to White non-Hispanic patients (Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 145 /Pg. 423). Data shows that the rate can be up to eight times higher for black patients in some regions of the United States.