Peripheral Artery Disease – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Peripheral Artery Disease

The collection of plaque (a mixture of fat and cholesterol) in the arteries of your arms or legs is referred to as peripheral artery disease or PAD. This makes it more difficult for your blood to provide oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in those places. Even though PAD is a chronic illness, you can manage it by exercising, cutting back on your intake of fat, and giving up smoking.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Blood arteries constrict as a result of accumulation on their walls, which is known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). It frequently affects those who have type 2 diabetes, who are also at risk for excessive cholesterol and heart disease.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that PAD affects around one in three diabetics over the age of 50. When PAD is producing issues with the legs or feet, doctors identify it most frequently. Those who have PAD are more likely to get a heart attack or a stroke.

Because accumulation and artery constriction affect all arteries in the body. It’s vital to discuss PAD with your doctor if you have any concerns. They can assist you in taking action to remedy your signs and safeguard your blood vessels and heart.


Millions of Americans suffer from PAD, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. People frequently fail to see it, though. Subtle symptoms of the illness are frequently overlooked by physicians and patients. Possible peripheral artery disease warning symptoms include:

  • “Claudication” is the medical term for discomfort in the calves that occurs when walking or exercising but goes away after resting.
  • Your lower legs or feet feel numb, tingly, or as if they are on pins and needles.
  • Leg or foot injuries or sores that take a long time to heal.

The signs of PAD can occasionally be so mild that you may not realize you have a problem. In certain circumstances, you might overlook minor leg discomfort from PAD as nothing more than a symptom of aging. Because of this, it’s crucial to pay attention to your health and treat any possible PAD symptoms carefully. To preserve your vascular system, early therapy is crucial.

Causes of Peripheral Artery Disease

Atherosclerosis is the most typical factor of PAD. A slow process called atherosclerosis causes fatty material to accumulate inside the arteries. Blood clots in the arteries, limb injuries, and atypical muscle and ligament morphology are less frequent causes of peripheral artery disease.

Diabetes, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, advancing age, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease are risk factors that contribute to PAD. Also, elevated levels of C-reactive protein or homocysteine are the risk factors that cause PAD.


Most of the time, managing peripheral artery disease involves a mix of medication and dietary modifications. This may lessen your signs and symptoms as well as your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor could suggest the following, for instance.

  • If you smoke, stop doing so.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and blood glucose levels by eating a diet that is nutritious.
  • To lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce your intake of salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
  • Make sure to exercise in moderation under supervision, and take breaks when your legs start to hurt. Most medical professionals recommend doing active 30-minute walks three times each week.
  • Keep an eye on your blood pressure and take your medicine as per prescription.
  • Follow the directions on any other prescriptions, including those for diabetes and cholesterol.
  • For blood thinning, take aspirin or antiplatelet medications. This may improve the flow of blood via arteries that are constricted or narrow.
  • Your doctor could advise surgery if your peripheral artery disease is severe. To assist in opening or rerouting obstructed blood arteries, your surgeon may employ balloon angioplasty or arterial bypass.

The Bottom Line

It is crucial to get a diagnosis of PAD as soon as possible since it raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. By altering your way of life, you can prevent peripheral artery disease (PAD) or stop it from growing worse. Keep all of your visits for follow-up treatment with your doctor and the vascular specialist, and take the medications they recommend for all of your diseases.