Peripheral Arterial Disease
Causes of Peripheral Arterial Disease
The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis – the accumulation of plaque on the inside walls of the arteries, causing those arteries to narrow or harden. Plaque is made up mostly of cholesterol that builds up in the bloodstream.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that the chances of developing PAD are higher for people:
- Over age 50;
- Who smoke or smoked in the past (risk is four times greater than for non-smokers) ;
- Who have diabetes (one-third of people over the age of 50 with diabetes also have PAD);
- With high blood pressure (hypertension);
- With high cholesterol levels;
- With a personal history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke (people with heart disease have a one-in-three chance of also having PAD);
- Of African American descent (more than twice as likely to have PAD as people of Caucasian descent).