Peripheral Artery Disease is a condition that affects millions of people.
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD occurs when there is a buildup of plaque, or fatty deposits, inside the arteries that carry blood to your legs and feet.
Many people have not heard of this condition. PAD often goes unnoticed because people assume their leg pain is due to soreness or arthritis. However, if your legs are healthy, you shouldn’t have chronic leg pain.
Who’s at risk?
Here are some factors that increase your risk for PAD:
- Increasing age (e.g. over 60)
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2)
- High blood cholesterol
It’s important to note that while these factors might increase your risk, PAD can develop even if you exercise and eat well. Certain communities, such as African-Americans, are at an increased risk for PAD.
What are the symptoms of PAD?
The most common symptom is cramping in your leg muscles while you’re walking. Pain that goes away when you stop and rest is called intermittent claudication. This is caused by poor blood flow to muscles due to blocked arteries.
Other symptoms of PAD include:
- Burning or aching pain in your feet and toes while resting or sleeping
- Skin sores and wounds that won’t heal
- Nails that don’t grow
- Hair loss on legs
- Pale or discolored leg or foot
- Changing skin color on your legs
- Both legs often have symptoms, although one leg may be worse
Listen to this content read aloud by our
Patient Partner, Katelyn
Hear from PAD Patients about
Life with PAD
Mechket learned to take control of her health
Mechket was diagnosed with an advanced form of Peripheral Artery Disease. Her diagnosis changed her life.
What is PAD?
Peripheral Artery Disease may not be a familiar term – but it affects
millions of Americans.
This condition doesn’t always present with symptoms, so it’s important to understand the risks and why you should get screened and diagnosed as soon as possible. If left untreated, PAD can cause amputations of the toes, feet, and even legs. Watch this video to learn more.
How is PAD Treated?
Get Regular Exercise
Going for walks, even short distances, will help. Check out our walking resources page for tips on getting started. Ask your health care provider about an exercise program that’s right for you.
Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow and makes PAD worse. Reducing or quitting smoking can make a big difference in the treatment of PAD.
Medications, such as statins (lowers cholesterol), antiplatelets (helps prevent clotting), and ACE inhibitors (lowers blood pressure), can be used to treat PAD. Speak with your health care provider about the best treatment option.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your health care provider can refer you to a nutrition specialist or dietitian. They will help you find an eating plan that will not only help prevent PAD from getting worse, but can also reduce risk for heart attack and stroke.
Work-related stress, job strain, or other types of stress can make PAD worse. Stress may increase inflammation and cause higher blood glucose levels. Staying active, practicing meditation, or keeping a journal to track your moods can help relieve stressful feelings.
Some patients have severe cases of PAD that impact their quality of life. They are unable to walk long distances or have difficulties performing daily tasks. There are many surgical procedures that can help. For example, angioplasty helps open blocked arteries, and an artery bypass can help redirect blood around a section of partially blocked or fully blocked arteries.
Talk to your provider as soon as possible about your risk for PAD.
The sooner this condition is found, the more opportunity you have to control it.
What Patients Are Saying
“When I came across Vascular Cures I learned a lot – I had never heard of PAD before. I only related losing limbs to diabetes. They actually saved my life.”
“Don’t be afraid to share your story. I felt, as a wellness coach, that I was supposed to be in perfect health and not have anything wrong with me. I have a platform to share my story on now, and I think we need to do a whole lot more. We need to get the word out about PAD in any way we can.”
“The most frustrating thing about having PAD is feeling helpless because you do not know what to say. If I were advising patient to patient, I would say; no one knows your body as you do. When it comes to your health, everything is essential.”
Learn More about Peripheral Artery Disease
What is PAD?
High Blood Pressure and PAD
PAD and Cholesterol
PAD and Smoking
Foot Care and PAD
What is the Ankle-Brachial Index?
Diabetes and PAD
What is Ischemia?
The Importance of Walking with PAD
Folletos en Español | Spanish Flyers
¿Qué es la Enfermedad Arterial Periférica?
La presión arterial alta y la EAP
¿Qué es el Índice Tobillo-Brazo?
Fumar y la EAP
Cuidado de los pies y la EAP
La importancia de caminar
Diabetes y la EAP
¿Qué es la Isquemia?
Patient Blog by Vascular Cures’ Patient Partner Steve H. on his experience with the benefits of walking for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
How I Learned to Take Control of My Health | Patient Blog by Vascular Cures’ Patient Partner Mechket G. During a sunny afternoon in December 2020,...