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ISRN Vascular Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 165653, 9 pages
Review Article

African Americans and Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Review Article

1Center for Health Equity, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA
2Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas Medical School, 1010 N. Kansas St., Suite 1406, Wichita, KS 67214-3199, USA

Received 15 April 2012; Accepted 18 June 2012

Academic Editors: C. Gaetano, B. Hambly, C. Maziere, A. E. Meinders, and C.-C. Wu

Copyright © 2012 Winta Ghidei and Tracie C. Collins. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)—atherosclerosis of the abdominal aorta and arteries of the lower extremities—affects 12 million Americans. African Americans (AAs) are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to suffer from PAD. When compared to non-Hispanic whites with PAD, AAs with PAD have more severe disease and a greater reduction in walking distance, speed, and/or stair climbing. AAs with PAD are at increased risk for disease progression and worsening lower limb function. Reasons for the higher risk for disease progression have not been defined. One potential modifiable risk is a lower level of physical activity. Lower levels of physical activity are more common among African American seniors. Walking is a common type of physical activity. The benefits of walking therapy are only realized if the patient adheres to such therapy. Efforts are needed to increase walking in AAs with PAD. Additionally, risk factor management is key to reducing adverse events in AAs with PAD-yet few studies have targeted this high-risk group. In this paper, we discuss the management of PAD in AAs. Identifying current gaps will help to inform clinicians, researchers, and policy makers on next steps in identifying innovative approaches to increase home-based walking and reduce walking impairment in AAs with PAD.