The Heart of the Matter: Heart disease’s ‘partner in crime’

PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE, or PAD, affects as many as 12 million adults and is closely related to heart disease. Unfortunately, many people with PAD do not even know they have it. Worse yet, untreated PAD puts patients at a higher risk for heart attacks, strokes and death.

PAD is when fatty materials mix with other substances in the arteries and blood vessels outside the heart and brain and harden into plaque in a process called atherosclerosis. Blood flow is restricted through the much narrower blood vessels, affecting limbs and organs.


PAD most often affects patients’ legs. Symptoms include hair loss, pain, weakness, coldness and numbness in the feet and legs. Skin may become shiny and bluish, and ulcers can develop that are slow to heal. Toenails can also be brittle and slow to grow, and it will become hard to find a pulse in the leg.


A poor diet and lack of exercise lead to atherosclerosis and PAD. There are also many other contributing factors — like smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, family history, high cholesterol, and more — that are connected to PAD. In addition, African-Americans and men have higher chances of developing PAD.


There are many treatments available for PAD, including, angioplasty, stenting and a minimally invasive procedure which removes the plaque from the arteries. It is ideal for your cardiologist to create a tailored treatment plan, including exercise, changes in diet, and medication.

This column is sponsored by Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida.



BIO: Dr. Irfan Siddiqui is a board-certified interventional cardiologist and a practicing physician at the Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida. Dr. Siddiqui is also an associate professor with UCF College of Medicine. He takes pride in taking an integrated approach for his patients to provide comprehensive, consistent care. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (863) 42-HEART and schedule a consultation with Dr. Siddiqui.

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