Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Written by eHealth Navigator

What is Peripheral Artery Disease / PAD?

PAD is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the arteries of the pelvis and legs. PAD is similar to coronary artery disease (CAD) and carotid artery disease. All three of these conditions are caused by narrowed and blocked arteries in various critical regions of the body. Hardened arteries (or atherosclerosis) in the coronary artery region, restricts the blood supply to the heart muscle. Carotid artery disease refers to atherosclerosis in the arteries that supply blood to the brain.

Quick Facts about PAD

The most common symptoms of PAD are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.

Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else causing PAD to often go undiagnosed by healthcare professionals.

People with peripheral arterial disease have four to five times more risk of heart attack or stroke.

Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Symptoms of severe PAD include:
a. Leg pain that does not go away when you stop exercising
b. Foot or toe wounds that won't heal or heal very slowly
c. Gangrene
d. A marked decrease in the temperature of your lower leg or foot particularly compared to the other leg or to the rest of your body

Added risks for PAD:
a. Smoking
b. Diabetes
c. High blood pressure
d. High cholesterol

PAD can be diagnosed with simple and painless tests by your doctor.

Most cases of PAD can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

Atherosclerosis and PAD

It's important to learn the facts about PAD. As with any disease, the more you understand, the more likely you'll be able to help your healthcare professional make an early diagnosis and start treatment. PAD has common symptoms, but many people with PAD never have any symptoms at all.

Learn the facts, consult your healthcare professional and take control of your risk factors for heart attack and stroke. You have the power to improve your heart health.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 4:54PM