Peripheral arterial disease 

Peripheral arterial disease occurs when there is a blockage in the arteries in the limbs. An expert describes the causes of the condition, such as smoking and high blood pressure, and the risks associated with the condition. He also gives advice on treatment options and managing the disease.

Find out more about peripheral arterial disease

Transcript of Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease is a disease of the arteries affecting your legs.

It's caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the wall of the arteries.

Sometimes that's called hardening of the arteries.

It can affect arteries throughout your body.

When it affects those coming down to your legs,

you can get pain in your legs when you're walking

or, if it's more serious, when you're at rest.

Most of the people who develop serious problems have been smokers.

It's very important that you give up smoking

if you're developing peripheral arterial disease.

Other factors that are important

are having high blood pressure or high cholesterol in your blood.

It may also be that in some people, it's a genetic tendency.

It shows that you've got hardening of the arteries

affecting arteries around your body.

More than 20 per cent of people with peripheral arterial disease

will be at risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next five years

if they don't seek treatment.

So it is something that should be urgently diagnosed

and preventative treatment put into place.

People with peripheral arterial disease

need to take on board all the preventative treatments

that currently can be offered to people after a heart attack or a stroke.

Things such as getting blood pressure under control are very important.

Most patients will need to go on a drug

to stop platelets clogging up in their arteries such as aspirin.

The majority will also need to be on a drug to lower their cholesterol

such as a statin drug.

In addition, giving up smoking

is extremely important for people who haven't already done so,

and taking more exercise, losing weight and taking a healthy diet.

Those are things that people can do to help themselves

rather than relying on medication.

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