Changes in tiny blood vessels of the eye could be a precursor in determining a higher risk of later narrowing in the large blood vessels in the legs, according to a recent study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions.
More than 9,300 adults participated in a long-term Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, each with retinal photographs taken between 1993-1995, when they did not have peripheral artery disease (PAD).
During a 19-year followup, 304 participants developed PAD needing hospitalization or a procedure to open narrowed leg vessels. Of those, 92 had the most severe form of PAD, called critical limb ischemia (CLI), resulting in ulcers on the leg, gangrene or possible amputation.
Microvascular abnormalities could impair healing of woulds or or potentially create an alternative route for blood to flow, leading to more severe PAD, according to researchers.
Changes in the eye could be a clue to poor blood circulation in the legs
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