What is the link between cholesterol and PAD?
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, the walls of your blood vessels can become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits called plaque (pronounced as 'plak’). Over time, the plaque builds up and causes hardening of the arteries (or atherosclerosis). The arteries become narrowed and blood flow is slowed down or blocked.
PAD occurs when the arteries in the legs are hardened and clogged. Blood flow to the legs and feet is reduced, which can cause pain when you walk. Likewise, if enough oxygen-rich blood cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain (or angina). If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is cut off, the result is a heart attack. When arteries harden in one part of the body, it is likely they have hardened in other parts. As such, people with PAD are likely to have hardened and narrowed arteries in the heart and brain, putting them at much higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. The good news is that studies show that keeping blood cholesterol levels under control can help people with PAD lower their chances of a heart attack, stroke and a poor quality of life.