What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

December 1, 2015


Also known as peripheral artery disease, PAD occurs when the blood vessels in the extremities, particularly the legs, become blocked or inflamed, restricting circulation and blood flow in the legs. PAD is a fairly common condition, and affects as many as one in 20 Americans over the age of 50, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Similar to coronary arterial disease, where the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged from a buildup of plaque and fatty deposits, blocked arteries in the legs can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke when left untreated.


If you have concerns, we have a non-invasive, quick test to determine whether or not you have PAD. Call us at (612) 788-8778 or request an appointment here



While many people with peripheral arterial disease may not experience any symptoms, the decreased circulation in the legs can make it difficult and uncomfortable to walk and move freely. Midwest Podiatry Centers in Richfield offer diagnostic services to help patients determine whether they are suffering from, or at an increased risk for, developing peripheral arterial disease.


Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease

When symptoms for PAD do occur, the most common include:

  • Pain and numbness in the legs and feet

  • Claudication - cramping and fatigue in the legs, thighs, calf muscles, or buttocks during physical activities like walking and climbing stairs. The discomfort usually subsides once the activity is completed, leading many people with PAD to dismiss the symptoms

  • Slow or poorly healing sores on the legs, feet, and toes

  • Problems with nail growth on the toes

  • Hair loss or slower hair growth on the legs

  • One leg or foot that is noticeably colder than the other

  • Color changes and shiny skin on the leg

  • Weakened pulse


Who is at Risk for PAD?

Direct causes for the plaque buildup in the arteries that lead PAD are unclear, but there are certain risk factors that can increase the risk for developing the condition.

  • Age - PAD is most common in people over 50

  • Race - African Americans are twice as likely to develop peripheral artery disease

  • Medical history - patients with a history of heart disease and stroke have a one in three chance of also developing PAD

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol can contribute to the formation of artery-clogging plaque build-up, compromising blood flow and circulation to the legs

  • Diabetes

  • Smoking

  • Obesity


Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment in Richfield

Because the majority of PAD sufferers do not exhibit symptoms, people with increased risk factors and noticeable pain and discomfort in the legs should consult with a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis. Peripheral arterial disease is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic testing. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of the condition. The most common treatment options for PAD are lifestyle modifications, such as weight management, exercise, and quitting smoking, as well as medication and surgery where appropriate.


To learn more about PAD, contact a podiatrist in Richfield today at (612) 788-8778 to schedule a consultation.





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