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The vascular system is connected from your heart to your toes

Health and Wellness

Peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is a blockage in the arteries connected to your legs and feet. This form of cardiovascular disease goes beyond the heart, but the vascular system is all connected.

When people hear "vascular disease," they typically think of coronary artery disease, or heart disease. But they're forgetting that there are other major arteries in the legs, feet and other limbs that can become blocked over time, cutting off circulation to limbs and causing PAD. This also puts people at risk for heart disease and stroke, as PAD can serve as a warning for clogged arteries elsewhere in the body.

Just like coronary arterial disease, peripheral vascular problems in the limbs arise due to poor diet, lack of exercise and other unhealthy lifestyles choices that affect your health, such as smoking. It's common among seniors 70 and older, but depending on diet and other risk factors, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s can also develop PAD. In the United States, 8-12 million people have PAD.

Read more on PAD and how you can improve your vascular health at NWRegionalHeart.com.