More than 40 percent of Americans aged 40 and older have experienced one or more of the most common symptomsi of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). However, the majority are unfamiliar with the disease and relatively few who experience symptoms see a doctor, according a recent online awareness survey conducted by Harris Poll.ii
The Covidien-sponsored survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults in September highlights the need for greater awareness of PAD, a disease affecting approximately 202 million worldwide,iii and 8 to 12 million people in the United States.iv
Specific findings of the survey included:
- 43 percent of Americans ages 40 and older have experienced one or more of the most common symptomsi of PAD;
- 63 percent of adults ages 40 and older have never heard of PAD;
- Only 34 percent of those who have experienced symptoms of PAD have spoken to their doctor.
Additionally, the most commons symptoms of PAD that were experienced by Americans ages 40 and older included: fatigue when walking or climbing stairs (20 percent); pain that disturbs their sleep (16 percent), and pain when walking or climbing stairs (17 percent). In 42 percent of Americans ages 40 or older, the symptoms impacted their daily life, including not being able to exercise as much/at all (27 percent), having to stay home more (17 percent) and weight gain (15 percent).
“PAD can be difficult to recognize and diagnose, and adults often dismiss symptoms of PAD as normal signs of aging,” said Mark Turco, M.D., chief medical officer, Vascular Therapies, Covidien. “However, it is important for individuals to talk to their doctor about the symptoms and risks of PAD. PAD is usually also associated with other cardiovascular diseases, and if left undiagnosed, can lead to major health issues.”
PAD is one of the most common vascular diseases. It occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or blocked by plaque, and it can cause severe pain, limited physical mobility and non-healing leg ulcers. PAD can also result in serious health consequences such as amputation, cardiovascular disease and death. In fact, people with PAD are six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease within 10 years than people without PAD.v
There are a number of risk factors associated with PAD, some of which are controllable and include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In fact, one in three people ages 50 and older with diabetes are likely to have PADvi and more than 80 percent of patients with PAD are current or former smokers.vii
Advancing age also increases an individual’s risk for PAD. Up to 20 percent of individuals 65 and older have PAD.viii In fact, the survey found adults aged 55 and older were more likely to experience the most common symptoms of PAD.