How to Prevent PAD – Part I
Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD may be caused by many factors. Those factors out of your control are called “non-modifiable” risk factors. In other words, there is nothing you can do about them. Other risk factors are “modifiable” and you have the control to change the course of your health. Even if you have non-modifiable risk factors, you can still reduce your risk of developing PAD.
Five Non-Modifiable PAD Risk Factors
Non-modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors are those that cannot be changed. Listed below are 5 non-modifiable risk factors for PAD:
1. Family history
PAD definitely has a genetic component. This means that if someone in your family has PAD, you are more likely to develop it. The closer the relationship, the more likely you are to develop PAD. For example, first-degree relatives developed PAD at what may be considered a relatively young age. This is especially true if your mother, father, sister, or brother developed PAD before the age of 55 to 65.
A family history of risk factors for PAD also increases your risk of developing PAD. These risk factors may include:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- high cholesterol; and
- type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that family history of PAD may not be 100% attributed to genetics and may be related to things that you can change.
Older people are at greater risk of developing PAD. Although you cannot help getting older, a healthy lifestyle is recommended to help reduce the likelihood of developing PAD, heart and other circulatory conditions.
If you are of South Asian, African or Caribbean descent, you have a greater risk of developing PAD. Type 2 diabetes – a risk factor in itself for PAD – also seems to be more prevalent among these groups. Although the reasons for increased risk are uncertain, leading a healthy lifestyle for people of all backgrounds will help reduce the risk of developing PAD.
There is increasing data to show that the rates of PAD in women are underestimated. Symptoms also go unrecognized by the healthcare workers and women often do not complain or know what to look for. This complicates diagnosis and treatment. We do know that women tend to be diagnosed with PAD at an older age. Some researchers believe that this may be associated with hormonal changes following menopause. We also know that when women are diagnosed their disease is often advanced and challenging to treat. If women are increasingly attentive to leg cramping and wounds, this may help with earlier diagnosis and better outcomes. Research is ongoing.
5. Socioeconomic status
If you have a low socioeconomic status, you are at greater risk of PAD. Although the reasons behind this are unclear and complex, they may be related to access to care and affordable nutritional foods. Some suggest that diet is one of the biggest factors since diet is associated with diabetes and obesity.
Contact us today to see how we can help! PAD is a complex disease and if you have any of the risk factors above, there is still hope! Even if the risks are called “non-modifiable” there is a lot you can do to improve your health. Contact us today and one of our Vascular Specialists can thoroughly evaluate and treat you!
Prevention and treatment of PAD – from the AHA