Overview and Images of Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused when one or more arteries in your arms or legs are narrowed or blocked by plaque, a fatty substance that builds up inside artery walls.
Symptoms: It can cause pain that feels like a dull cramp or heavy tiredness in your hips or legs when you exercise or climb stairs. This pain is sometimes called claudication. If PAD worsens, it can cause cold skin on your feet or legs, skin color changes, and sores that don't heal.
Causes: As with coronary artery disease, the most common cause of PAD is atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty plaque in the walls of the blood vessels). In some cases, PAD may be caused by blood clots that lodge in the arteries and restrict blood flow.
These drawings show the process of atherosclerosis. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the arteries. Over time, this narrows the arteries – and limits the amount of blood that passes through them to the tissue in your arms and legs.
Peripheral Artery Disease in Depth
Learn more about peripheral artery disease from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:
Diagnostic Tests for Peripheral Artery Disease
Treatments for Peripheral Artery Disease
Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for peripheral artery disease include:
Services and Programs
Services and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for patients with peripheral artery disease: