Peripheral artery disease is a narrowing of the vessels that supply the limbs, head and stomach with blood.
Peripheral artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. Plaque narrows or blocks the arteries that feed the arms or legs, preventing them from receiving enough blood to function correctly.
If peripheral artery disease is severe enough, it can lead to tissue death in a foot or leg. It also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
The primary symptom of peripheral artery disease is leg pain, cramping or tiredness when walking. The pain usually goes away when you stop walking, and comes back when you start walking again.
Other symptoms include:
To diagnose peripheral artery disease, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and run some tests, including:
Your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes and medication to treat your peripheral artery disease. In more severe causes, a medical procedure or surgery may be needed to restore proper blood flow.
Lifestyle changes include:
If these changes aren’t enough to reduce blockages, you may need a medical procedure or surgery, including: