More than 200 million people around the world suffered from peripheral artery disease in 2010, up 23.5% since 2000, leading researchers to liken PAD to a "global pandemic." According to a meta-analysis published in The Lancet, 70% of people with PAD live in low- to middle-income nations, and experts believe increased exposure to risk factors such as diabetes and smoking is partly responsible. "Peripheral artery disease is associated with the highest short-term risk of heart attack, stroke and death of any cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Alan Hirsch of the University of Minnesota Medical School. "It's responsible for over 80% of all amputations in every country and robs individuals of their walking independence."

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