Peripheral arterial disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs – usually the legs. This causes symptoms including leg pain when walking.
In the Mayo study, published online Thursday in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers found hypertension during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for peripheral arterial disease. The study adjusted for such variables as age, race, height, heart rate, smoking history, body mass index and diabetes.
More study is needed to determine whether peripheral arterial disease screening of women who had hypertension in pregnancy could identify those at greatest risk for heart disease, the researchers say.
The project was supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Institute on Aging and the Office of Women’s Health Research.