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Who Has Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

Approximately 18 million U.S. citizens have PAD and of these patients 2 million suffer from critical limb ischemia (CLI), the most severe and deadly form of the disease that increases the risks of limb loss and mortality.

However, studies suggest only 25% – 50% of the population with PAD is aware that they have the condition.

*Source: Avalere Health

The quality of life for patients with PAD is significantly worse than the general population. The physical burden of PAD is comparable to other types of cardiovascular disease.

Without diagnosis and proper treatment, the outlook for PAD patients is grim. Unless successful treatment occurs, the 6-month mortality rate is 20% and the amputation rate is 40%. At 5 years, the all-cause mortality rate of 70% exceeds that of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, stroke and coronary artery disease. 75% of the PAD deaths are due to cardiovascular disease.

Who Is At Risk?

A recent study of over 51,500 individuals found that smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension are more strongly associated with PAD than with coronary heart disease.

There is considerable overlap between PAD and other chronic diseases. PAD patients often also suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD) and cerebrovascular disease (CBVD):

  • Approximately 50% of patients with PAD have CBVD
  • 60-90% of patients with PAD have CAD

Key risk factors for PAD are:

  • Age: Individuals 50 or over
  • Smoking history: Smoking is more closely related to developing PAD than any other risk factor.
  • Family and personal history: Individuals with a history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke are at high risk.
  • Chronic Disease: Individuals with existing health conditions including diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure are at greater risk. Diabetic patients in particular are at a very high risk for developing CLI: 60% to 80% of those with CLI also have diabetes.
  • Renal insufficiency: Individuals living with kidney disease are considered high risk. 57% of end-stage renal dialysis (ESRD) patients require PAD interventional procedures.

Lower extremity peripheral PAD is most prevalent in the Medicare population and is associated with high rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, amputation, and death.