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Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2007;3(2):229-34.

Epidemiology, classification, and modifiable risk factors of peripheral arterial disease.

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  • 1Midwest Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Cardiovascular Medicine, PC, 1236 E Rusholme, Suite 300, Davenport, IA 52803, USA.


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is part of a global vascular problem of diffuse atherosclerosis. PAD patients die mostly of cardiac and cerebrovascular-related events and much less frequently due to obstructive disease of the lower extremities. Aggressive risk factors modification is needed to reduce cardiac mortality in PAD patients. These include smoking cessation, reduction of blood pressure to current guidelines, aggressive low density lipoprotein lowering, losing weight, controlling diabetes and the use of oral antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin or clopidogrel. In addition to quitting smoking and exercise, cilostazol and statins have been shown to reduce claudication in patients with PAD. Patients with critical rest limb ischemia or severe progressive claudication need to be treated with revascularization to minimize the chance of limb loss, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life.

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