Foot Conditions A-Z

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also called “peripheral vascular disease” or “claudication,” occurs when blood flow to the legs is reduced or completely blocked by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). When blood flow to one or both legs can’t keep up with demand, the result is leg pain while walking (“intermittent claudication”) and other symptoms. If blood flow to the legs is completely blocked, tissues in the leg and/or foot die, increasing the risk of amputation.

Although PAD most frequently affects the legs and feet, it can also affect arteries that carry blood from the heart to the head, arms, heart and other internal organs. According to the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States, especially those over the age of 50. According to The Lancet medical journal, as of 2010, the number of people with PAD is estimated at 202 million world-wide. 

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