Entries in PAD (2)


Women’s Smoking Habits Heighten Risk of PAD, Study Finds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Eight million Americans are estimated to have peripheral artery disease, or PAD, which increases their risk of heart attack or stroke by four to five times compared to people without PAD.  PAD is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries of the legs, or less commonly the arms.  Some of the risk factors for PAD include diabetes, high cholesterol, as well as smoking, and a new study shows that for women 45 years or older, smoking even for a short period of time permanently increases the risk of PAD.
The authors from University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston followed over 28,000 women during a period of about 13 years.  Their health status, lifestyle and smoking habits were assessed using yearly questionnaires, while their cholesterol levels were assessed through blood tests.  

Not surprisingly, current smokers had the highest risk of peripheral artery disease.  But the authors found that women who reported that they used to smoke, but no longer do, also had a greater risk of PAD than women who had never smoked.  The increased risk of former smokers did reduce with the increased length of time since a woman had quit smoking, but it never disappeared completely.  Still, the major take-home point: quit smoking to reduce risk of PAD.
Another key finding is that former smokers were almost at three times greater risk of PAD than women who never smoked.  On the other hand, women smoking less than 15 cigarettes per day had a 5.5 times greater risk while those smoking more than 15 cigarettes per day were at 9.5 times greater risk of PAD than non-smokers.
One problem with this study, critics say, is that it only counted women who were treated for PAD or had symptoms of the condition such as pain in their legs, weakness, or fatigue while walking.  So women who had plaque buildup in their peripheral arteries without symptoms would have been missed.

These findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Leg Pain Could Be Sign of Heart Trouble

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New research suggests a disease that affects the legs could be a warning sign for potential heart trouble.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects about 9 million Americans over 50, putting them at risk for heart attack, according to the Vascular Disease Foundation. 

PAD arises when arteries in the legs become blocked with fatty deposits.  The blockage, in turn, causes reduced blood flow to the legs signaled by muscle pain when walking.  If there are blocked arteries in the legs, it is likely that one might also have blocked arteries elsewhere in the body, including the heart.

"Often people think leg discomfort or slow-healing sores are just a part of aging, yet they can be signs of a serious disease," Dr. Joseph Caporusso, chair of the PAD Coalition, said in a news release.

Caporusso noted that early detection and treatment can reduce the devastating effects of PAD and improve cardiovascular health.

The Vascular Disease Foundation suggests adults age 70 and older with PAD symptoms or individuals under age 50 with diabetes or a history of smoking should be tested for PAD.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio