Peripheral artery disease (PAD)


Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as peripheral arterial disease, is a medical condition that results in decreased blood flow to the arms or legs, particularly the legs, leading to symptoms such as claudication. Typically, this condition occurs due to the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, a process called atherosclerosis, which can narrow the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the limbs.

The treatment for PAD usually involves lifestyle modifications such as engaging in physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and quitting smoking or nicotine use. These interventions can help improve symptoms and prevent further progression of the disease.


Many individuals with peripheral artery disease may not experience any significant symptoms. However, some may experience leg pain when walking, a condition known as claudication.

Muscle aches or cramps in the arms or legs that start during exertion and stop with rest are signs of claudication. The calf is where the pain is most frequently felt. From little to severe pain is experienced. It could be difficult to walk or engage in other physical activities if you have severe leg discomfort.

Additional signs of peripheral artery disease could be:

  • The leg becomes weak or numb
  • The legs or feet with no pulse or a faint pulse
  • The lower leg or foot feeling colder than the other side, especially in comparison
  • Cramping pain in one or both hips, thighs, or calf muscles after engaging in specific activities such as walking or climbing steps
  • Non-healing sores on the toes, foot, or legs
  • Leg hair loss or sluggish hair growth
  • The leg’s skin looks glossy or its color changes
  • The toenails has sluggish growth
  • Aches and cramps in the arms when using them to perform manual chores like knitting or writing
  • Erectile dysfunction

In the event that peripheral artery disease worsens, discomfort may be felt during resting or sleeping. Sleeping difficulties could result from the pain. Walking or hanging the legs over the edge of the bed may provide momentary pain relief.

If you have leg pain, numbness, or other peripheral artery disease symptoms, contact your doctor right away.


A development of fatty, cholesterol-containing deposits (plaques) on arterial walls frequently results in peripheral artery disease. Atherosclerosis is the name of this process. Blood flow through the arteries is decreased.

All of the body’s arteries are affected by atherosclerosis. Peripheral artery disease results when it affects the blood vessels that supply the limbs.

Peripheral artery disease can also result from less frequent sources like being exposed to radiation, inflamed blood vessel, arm or leg trauma, and changes in the ligaments and muscles.

Risk factors

Peripheral artery disease is at a higher risk of developing in individuals who smoke or have diabetes. Additionally, the likelihood of developing peripheral artery disease increases due to the following factors:

  • African Americans are more likely to get PAD. Comparing Hispanics to non-Hispanic white people, Hispanics may have comparable to slightly higher rates of PAD.
  • Aging, particularly beyond 65; (or after 50 if you have risk factors for atherosclerosis)
  • A history of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral artery disease in the family
  • Being obese (>30 body mass index)
  • Elevated cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Elevated amounts of homocysteine, an amino acid that raises coronary artery disease risk.

If you have PAD, you run the risk of developing coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, both of which increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.