How Your Cholesterol Impacts Your PAD Risk

Cholesterol and PAD.jpeg

Most know that cholesterol can have a great impact on cardiovascular health.  High levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, can allow plaque to build within the arteries and restrict blood flow.  The condition is a known risk factor for a number of dangerous health occurrences, including heart attack and stroke.  But, it isn’t only the heart or the brain that patients with high cholesterol need worry about.

How and Where PAD Occurs

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the narrowing of arteries outside of the heart.  It can occur in the stomach, arms, and most commonly, the legs.  There are many potential risk factors that can increase the likelihood of PAD.  These can include being a smoker, having diabetes or high blood pressure, age, and, of course, high cholesterol. 

Just as unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol can gradually block the arteries of the heart with plaque, the same can occur in the legs or other areas of the body.  Unfortunately, this narrowing often develops without symptoms, making awareness of risk factors all the more important.

Complications of PAD

A narrowed artery in the leg may seem better than one in the heart.  However, not only can PAD lead to the same concerns of heart attack and stroke, it can also put the affected limbs in danger.  A common complication of PAD is known is critical limb ischemia.  This condition begins as an injury, infection, or open sore that doesn’t heal and can eventually lead to dead tissue and the need for amputation.

Avoiding such complications is crucial.  Cardiovascular Institute of the South is a world-renowned leader in PAD treatment and limb salvage, bringing patients the best medical minds and the most advanced technology to prevent amputations and other complications.

PAD Warning Signs

Although there may be no physical signs at all, there are some symptoms that have been noted to occur with PAD.  While patients with high cholesterol should be vigilant in their arterial care at all times, these particular signs should be addressed at the earliest opportunity:

  • Painful cramping in the legs
  • Numbness or weakness in the legs
  • Slow hair growth on the legs
  • Coldness in the lower leg or foot on one side
  • Weak pulse in the legs

High cholesterol requires patients to be especially cautious and aware of any potential changes in their health.  Whether you are exhibiting signs of PAD or simply want to keep your risk factors in check, contact CIS, and request an appointment with one of our cardiologists and PAD specialists.


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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff