Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is one of the most under-diagnosed health conditions in the US and is an important indicator that more serious vascular health conditions may be present in other areas of the body. For this reason, PAD is a significant predictor of heart attack and stroke.
During the first stages of PAD, your arteries still provide enough oxygen to your muscles during rest. However, when you are active, such as when you are walking or climbing stairs, your muscles need more oxygen than the narrowed vessels can supply. As a result, the muscles may cramp or feel tired.
As the disease progresses, you may develop pain in the foot and/or leg at rest due to lack of blood flow. This may result in the loss of a limb due to tissue and muscle death (i.e. gangrene).
What are the symptoms of PAD?
- Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
- Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal
- A change in the color of your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Who Needs This Screening?
Anyone with risk factors.
Risk Factors for PAD
- Family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure