Peripheral Arterial Disease Care
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common circulatory disease. It occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming plaque inside the arteries. This narrows and clogs the arteries, often causing decreased blood flow. PAD most commonly appears in the legs, which can result in pain when walking, but it also appears in other parts of the body as well.
View treatment options we offer here at Flatlands Medical Associates or learn about symptoms, causes, and risk factors of PAD below.
The most common symptom of peripheral arterial disease is leg pain when walking. Other symptoms include the following:
- Painful cramping in the hip, thigh, or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication)
- Weak, tired, or numb legs
- Coldness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other leg or foot
- Non-healing or slow-healing sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs
- Skin changes on the feet or legs, such as color or shininess
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on the feet and legs
- Slower growth of toenails
- Only a weak or no pulse in the legs or feet
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Many people with PAD experience only mild or no symptoms, or they mistake them for symptoms of something else.
Causes and Risk Factors
Peripheral arterial disease develops most commonly as a result of atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque builds up inside arteries, reducing blood flow and “starving” muscles and other tissues in the limbs.
In very rare cases, peripheral arterial disease develops as a result of blood vessel inflammation, injury to the limbs, unusual anatomy of ligaments or muscles, or radiation exposure.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing peripheral arterial disease include the following:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of peripheral arterial disease, heart disease, or stroke
- Over age 70
- Over age 50 with a history of diabetes or smoking
- Under age 50 with diabetes and other PAD risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure
more on peripheral arterial disease
Any information and advice on this site is given on a generalized, generic basis, and is not specific to any individual patient’s condition. You should always consult with a professional for diagnosis and treatment of your specific health problems. You should not disregard any advice or treatment from such professionals based on your interpretation of what you may read on this site.