What is PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease)?

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a term used to classify all non-coronary arterial diseases. It is a buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries, which reduces or blocks the flow of blood to your limbs. PAD is most commonly seen in legs.

Who is affected?

PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the U.S. The risk of PAD increases dramatically with age. If you are over 70 or if your are over 50 and have cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be more susceptible to PAD.

One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has PAD. 1

What Puts Me at Risk? 1-5


The risk of PAD increases dramatically with age.


Smokers (or even a history of smoking) have a greater risk of developing PAD


One in three people over the age of 50 with diabetes is likely to have PAD

High Cholesterol

Excess cholesterol and fat in your blood contribute to the formation of plaque in arteries, reducing or blocking blood flow to your heart, brain or limbs.

History of Vascular Disease

Heart Attack or Stroke – If you have heart disease, you have a 1-in-3 chance of also having PAD

High Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure raises the risk of developing plaque in the arteries

African-American or Hispanic Ethnicity

Some minority groups are more than 2X as likely to have PAD

What are the Symptoms? 1-5


in the leg muscles (buttocks, thigh or calf) that occurs during activities such as walking or climbing stairs


in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep

Sores or Wounds

on toes, feet or legs that heal slowly, poorly or not at all

Color Changes

in the skin of the feet, including paleness or blueness

Lower Temperature

in one leg compared with the other leg

Poor Nail Growth

and decreased hair growth on toes and legs

A simple test can be performed at our center – ask us about checking your feet for signs of PAD.

1. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Disease Index. Peripheral Arterial Disease. National Heart Lunch and Blood Institute. Accessed on July 14, 2010

2. American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Disease Education/Referral enter, American Diabetes Association, SAGE Group.

3. Norgren L, Hiatt WR, Dormandy JA, et al. Inter-society Consensus for the Management of Peripheral Arterial Disease (TASCII). J. Vascu Surg. Jan 2007; 45 (1 Suppl S); S5A-S67A.

4. Bell D. Peripheral arterial disease overview: Here are some guidelines for prevention and treatment of this disease. Pod Mgmt. Apr/May 2009:210-220.

5. Hirsch AT, Haskal Z, Hertzer NR, et al. ACC/AHA 2005 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease (Lower Extremity, Renal, Mesenteric, and Abdominal Aortic): A Collaborative Report from the American Association for Vascular Surgery/Society for Vascular Surgery, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society for Vascular Medicine and Biology, Society of Interventional Radiology, and the ACC/AHA Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006; 47:e1-e192.

Additional Source
American Heart Association. Hear Disease & Stroke Statistics – 2010 Update At-a-Glance. American Heart Association. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association; 2010./