Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms, and head - most commonly in the arteries of the legs. PAD is similar to coronary artery disease (CAD). Both PAD and CAD are caused by atherosclerosis that narrows and blocks arteries in various critical
regions of the body.
The most common symptoms of PAD involving the lower extremities 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. In more severe cases, PAD can lead to pain in your feet at rest, particularly when you are in bed. In the most severe cases, PAD can lead to wounds not healing. Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else. PAD often goes undiagnosed by healthcare professionals. People with peripheral arterial disease have a much higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Added risks for PAD If you smoke, you have an especially high risk for PAD. If you have diabetes, you have an especially high risk for PAD. People with high blood pressure or high cholesterol are at risk for PAD. Your risk increases with age.
Cold foot (left) Warm foot (right)