Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Americans' Knowledge of PAD Is Bad

Peripheral Arterial Disease Is Flying Under the Radar of Most Americans
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 17, 2007 -- Never heard of peripheral arterial disease (PAD)? You're not alone, and that needs to change, a new study shows.

PAD hampers blood flow to the extremities, particularly the legs, due to a buildup of plaque in the arteries that bring blood to those areas.

Plaque buildup in the legs may be a warning sign of plaque buildup in other arteries, including those that supply blood to heart muscle and the brain, making heart attack and stroke more likely.

In the new PAD study, some 2,500 U.S. adults age 50 and older were interviewed via telephone about their PAD knowledge.

About a quarter of the group reported being "very" or "somewhat" familiar with PAD.

In comparison, nearly 90% said they were very or somewhat familiar with high blood pressure, about 85% said they were very or somewhat familiar with high cholesterol, and 77% said they were very or somewhat familiar with diabetes.

PAD affects up to 8 million Americans, note the researchers, who included the University of Minnesota's Alan Hirsch, MD.

People who said they were familiar with PAD weren't very savvy about the condition. The researchers write that among people aware of PAD:

"The public is poorly informed about PAD," write the researchers, who call for national public education programs to teach people about PAD.

The survey, published online in the journal Circulation, has a 3% margin of error.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure