New Research Pad Symptoms And Treatment

PAD (peripheral artery disease) research increases our knowledge of the disease and provides new treatment options.

PAD Symptoms Progress Faster for Women

Results from four years of PAD research by the Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine in Chicago revealed that women develop mobility problems faster than men when peripheral artery disease symptoms affect the legs.

The study monitored PAD symptoms among 380 male and female patients between 2002 and 2009. Women in the study had an average age of 76, while the average age of male participants was 74.

Mobility was measured at the beginning of the study by the ability to continuously walk a six-minute quarter mile. By the end of the PAD research study women were 2.3 times more likely than men to be unable to walk the same six minute quarter mile, and 1.9 times more likely to have developed PAD symptoms that made climbing or descending a single flight of stairs impossible (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011).

PAD symptoms may affect women more than men because women have less calf muscle mass than men. By extension, this suggests that male leg structure provides some measure of protection against debilitating PAD symptoms.

The study leaders note that women participating in the study had greater problems with mobility than men at the beginning of the four year period. They also note that women, on average, live longer than men, and therefore have more time to develop severe PAD symptoms. The PAD research reinforces the need for early detection and prevention of peripheral artery disease, especially in women.

Exploring New PAD Treatments

PAD research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore may yield new PAD treatments in the future. Animal test studies revealed that introducing bone marrow stem cells to areas damaged by peripheral artery disease stimulates the growth of new blood cells.

The researchers delivered stem cells directly to blocked arteries by wrapping the stem cells in “microbubbles” made from seaweed. The bubbles protected the stem cells from the body’s immune system defenses, and also allowed researchers to track stem cell location with imaging technology. Growth of new blood vessels occurred quickly in areas with introduced stem cells.

Study authors have hopes for the new research. PAD symptoms include restricted blood flow to the extremities, which can result in amputation. Stem cell PAD research may provide a means to restore blood circulation and help patients avoid amputation.


Ivanhoe Broadcast News. (2010). Potential for new treatment for peripheral artery disease. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from

Neale, T. (2011). Women with PAD worsen faster than men. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2011). Narrowed leg arteries disable women faster than men: Study. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from