Black adults have a higher risk of developing peripheral artery disease, according to a new release by the American Heart Association.
Published in the scientific journal Circulation, the American Heart Association’s “Health Disparities in Peripheral Artery Disease” report analyzed the latest data on racial disparities amongst patients with peripheral artery disease.
Also known as PAD, peripheral artery disease is a condition where the vessels are unable to properly allow blood flow to move from the heart to the legs. Due to plaque buildup in the arteries, the main cause is because of the blockage or constriction of the vessels.
With their latest report, the American Heart Association found that Black American adults are most likely to be diagnosed with PAD at higher rates than anyone else.
Although PAD was found to impact other BIPOC groups disproportionately, Black adults were found to be most at risk for PAD, with the study reporting that nearly one in three Black adults may develop the disease. In comparison, one in five Hispanic or white adults are also at risk for PAD.
When it came to treatment for the disease, Black adults had an increased chance of being in the advanced stages of PAD and most often required leg or foot amputation. Along with Hispanic and Native American adults, Black adults also had a lower survival rate after amputation and had a more difficult time regaining mobility after the operation.
The researchers of the study suggested that these higher rates could be lowered with alternate procedures, such as surgical revascularization, alongside proper follow-up care by providers.
“It is essential that health care professionals understand the disparities in PAD prevalence and outcomes in order to provide appropriate, evidence-based care and bridge the gaps in the treatment of this diverse patient population,” said one of the contributing authors, Carlos Mena-Hurtado, M.D, per a statement. “Health care systems need to optimize cost-effective interventions at every step.”
Overall, previous studies by the American Heart Association have found that PAD is most common amongst people over the age of 40 in the U.S. Out of every racial and ethnic group, Black Americans over 40 years old in particular are diagnosed with PAD at rates that are twice as much as any other ethnicity.
Although they tend to develop slowly over time, symptoms of PAD include leg weakness, a feeling of needles in the legs, sores and cramping in the calves.
To prevent the onset of the disease, researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend avoiding smoking, staying active, eating healthy and managing stress.