Lower-limb peripheral artery disease (PAD) has become a worldwide problem, and its prevalence over the past decade increased twice as fast in lower- and middle-income countries (by 29%) as it did in high-income countries (by 13%), according to Lancet estimates.
Researchers examined data from community-based studies in which PAD was defined by an ankle-brachial index of 0.90 or lower. The 34 studies encompassed over 100,000 participants.
In high-income countries, PAD prevalence did not differ between men and women, but in other countries it was higher among women. Prevalence rose with age worldwide, reaching 10% by age 70 and 17% after age 80. The most important modifiable risk factor was smoking, followed by diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.
The authors call the dramatic increase in prevalence — to about 200 million cases — “a major public health challenge,” given PAD’s association with loss of mobility, functional decline, and cardiovascular risk.