Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Definition

Peripheral Arterial DiseasePeripheral artery disease (PAD), occurs when your extremities (often your legs) don’t receive enough blood flow. This causes symptoms such as leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).  PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs.  PAD is also likely a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.

Symptoms

  • Pain and cramping of your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication)
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Cold feeling in your lower leg or foot, may be worse on one side
  • Non-healing sores on your toes, feet or legs
  • Change in the color of your legs
  • Hair loss or decreased hair growth on your feet and legs
  • Slower growth of your toenails
  • Shiny skin on your legs
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

If PAD is severe, pain can occur at rest or when you’re lying down.  This is also called ischemic rest pain. It may severe enough to disrupt sleep. Hanging your legs over the edge of your bed or walking around your room may temporarily relieve the pain.

When to see a doctor

If you have leg pain, numbness or fatigue, call (202) 832-1800 and make an appointment to see one of our physicians.

Even if you don’t have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, you may need to be screened if you are:

  • Over age 70
  • Over age 50 and have a history of diabetes or smoking
  • Under age 50, but have diabetes and other risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure

More information can be found here:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/PeripheralArteryDisease/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-PAD_UCM_301308_Article.jsp