What is PAD?

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is the result of atherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque in the arteries of the body. Arteries carry blood rich in oxygen from the heart to the entire body – brain, muscle, kidneys, skin, and all organs. In patients with tobacco exposure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, or genetics that predispose to the development of PAD, plaque can develop throughout the arteries. Plaque is composed of fat and cholesterol, and as it deposits within the wall of the artery stenosis, or narrowing, of the artery can begin to reduce blood flow.

When the narrowing is severe, organs that depend on arterial flow can begin to suffer. In patients with PAD, the arteries that supply the leg muscles are narrowed or blocked, limiting the oxygen supply to these muscles. In mild cases, walking can become painful after a distance, requiring the patient to walk slowly or take breaks.

As PAD worsens, blood flow can become so low that the legs are painful even while resting, or begin to develop wounds due to poor arterial circulation.

Most patients with PAD can be treated with lifestyle modification and exercise. For those who have more severe cases, there are many treatments available to restore flow and help patients resume the lifestyle they would like to pursue. Please take a look at our Treatments for Arterial Disease pages for more information.

Most patients with PAD can be treated with lifestyle modification and exercise. For those who have more severe cases, there are many treatments available to restore flow and help patients resume the lifestyle they would like to pursue. Please take a look at our Treatments for Arterial Disease pages for more information.

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