What You Need to Know
The shock of being diagnosed with PAD can leave you feeling scared and uncertain about what lies ahead. But taking the steps to learn more about your condition, and what you need to do to help reduce your risk for having a heart attack or stroke, can help you make informed decisions about your health in the future.
What is PAD?
PAD affects up to 8.5 million people in the United States alone. It is a progressive condition that is the result of a process called atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up inside the arteries that supply blood to the limbs, usually the legs, and causes pain when walking.
Understanding PAD Could Help Lower Your Risk for Blood Clots
People with PAD have a high risk for blood clots due to a rupture of plaque in the arteries.
When plaque ruptures and forms a blood clot, it can cut off blood flow to the limbs, creating a serious blockage that may lead to amputation if left untreated. People with PAD also have an increased risk of having a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
Treatments for PAD
Common treatments for PAD include certain procedures to restore blood flow to your limbs:
- Peripheral artery bypass graft surgery
- Stent implantation
However, even with a stent procedure, you’re still at risk for life-threatening blood clot–related events like heart attack and stroke. Your healthcare professional may prescribe medicines to help reduce your risk for blood clots. Although many people with PAD take only a daily aspirin, it may not be enough to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Why Aspirin Alone May Not Be Enough
A large study of almost 40,000 people, including those with peripheral artery disease (PAD) or coronary artery disease (CAD), showed that even though more than half were taking aspirin, the number of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths more than doubled over a two-year period.*
Your healthcare professional may prescribe a blood thinner in addition to your daily aspirin to help reduce your risk for blood clots that can cause a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death.
*According to the 2003–2004 REACH Registry — European Heart Journal.
Read Learning About XARELTO® for more information about how XARELTO® works with aspirin to help reduce your risk for life-threatening blood clots related to PAD.