Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when your arteries narrow or accumulate fatty deposits which reduce blood flow to your limbs. This is a circulatory problem that usually causes your legs to receive inadequate blood flow. While this condition has proven to affect the legs mostly, peripheral artery disease can also reduce blood flow to your heart and brain.


Atherosclerosis is usually the cause of peripheral artery disease. Atherosclerosis occurs when fat deposits accumulate in the artery walls causing reduced blood flow. This disease affects arteries throughout the body, but when it happens in those specific to your limbs, it causes peripheral artery disease. Other causes can include, blood vessel inflammation, damage to your limbs, the abnormal anatomy of ligaments or muscles, and radiation exposure.


Peripheral artery disease will usually cause mild to no symptoms. The most common symptom is leg pain when walking. The specific location depends on the affected artery. Peripheral artery disease symptoms are:

  • Cramping in lower extremities after mild activity
  • Numbness or weakness in the legs
  • Sores on the legs, feet or toes
  • Skin discoloration on the legs
  • Legs are cold to the touch
  • Hair loss on feet and legs
  • Toenails begin to grow slowly
  • Men experience erectile dysfunction
  • Weak or no pulse in feet or legs

*Stock photographs and artwork are for illustrative purposes only. This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other healthcare providers.