Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that approximately 8.5 million people live with.
PAD is a condition where the peripheral arteries in the body become narrowed. The peripheral arteries serve the stomach, head, legs and arms. PAD most often affects the leg’s arteries.
Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PAD. This happens when plaques form in the artery walls. This results in the flow of blood through the affected arteries decreasing. Other possible causes of PAD that are less common include injury to the limbs, radiation exposure, blood vessel inflammation, and abnormal ligament or muscle anatomy.
There are also risk factors that can make someone’s chances of developing PAD higher. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Being older than age 50
- High homocysteine levels in the body
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart disease, PAD, or stroke