Stay In Circulation

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: May 1, 2012

Stay-in-CirculationHow to avoid problems due to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Do you avoid long shopping trips because of pain in your legs? Are you spending more time sitting and less time walking because you're uncomfortable on your feet? Do you choose the elevator because stairs are painful? If so, you may be one of the 8 to 12 million Americans with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the arteries of the pelvis and legs.

Not only does PAD make life uncomfortable, but it also puts you at a much higher risk for heart attack and stroke according to the American Heart Association. "Many people with PAD have no symptoms or they mistake their symptoms for something else," said Porter's Diagnostic Imaging Director Nancy Babich. "The most common symptom is painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when the person is walking, climbing stairs or exercising." Babich explained the reason for this is that the muscles are not receiving enough blood flow to keep up with the demand.

It is estimated that by age 65, 12 to 20 percent of the population will have PAD. While certain risk factors for the disease such as age, family history, cardiovascular disease, stroke or diabetes cannot be controlled, there are a number of contributing factors that can be. People who smoke, are physically inactive, are overweight, have high cholesterol, or have high blood pressure are at an even higher risk of developing PAD.

Babich explained that early detection is the key and Porter's Legs for Life program makes it easy for anyone to get screened for PAD.

Visit the Porter Health System website
Valparaiso Campus
814 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219-263-4600

Porter's Free Screening: Legs for Life

To help patients uncover their risk, Porter offers a national screening program for PAD called Legs for Life. The quick and painless screening measures the circulation in both legs to detect the disease. Results are available immediately, signaling those who may need additional testing and treatment. To schedule your free PAD screening, call 219.263.LEGS (5347) today.

By the Numbers

  • 8-12 million Americans are affected by PAD each year
  • 6 to 7 times: a person with PAD has a 6 to 7 times higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke or transient ischemic attack (stroke) than the general population
  • 1 in 3: your chance of having PAD in the legs if you already have heart disease
  • 1 in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has PAD

Source: national Institutes of Health