Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of the lower limbs is associated with a high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Intermittent claudication is the most common symptomatic manifestation of PAD, but is in its own value an important predictor of cardiovascular death, increasing it by three-fold, and increasing all-cause mortality by two-to-five fold. Hypertension is a risk factor for vascular disorders, including PAD. Of hypertensives at presentation, about 2-5% have intermittent claudication, with increasing prevalence with age. Otherwise, 35-55% of patients with PAD at presentation also show hypertension. Patients who suffer from hypertension with PAD have a greatly increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. There is no consensus on the specific treatment of hypertension in PAD because of the limited controlled studies on antihypertensive therapy in such specific PAD population. There is an obvious need of such outcome studies, especially since the two conditions are frequently encountered together. However, as risk is high in all PAD patients, the most important goal remains to decrease the global cardiovascular risk in such patients rather than to focus on the control of blood pressure only and on the reduction of symptoms of PAD. Therefore, treatment with antiplatelet drugs, ACE-inhibitors and statins should be considered.
- Antihypertensive drugs
- Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality
- Peripheral arterial disease