Track topics on Twitter Track topics that are important to you
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the arteries of the pelvis and legs. The most common symptoms of PAD are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque (deposits of fats, cholesterol and other substances) builds up in the wall of an artery. PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries (or outer regions away from the heart). Plaque formations can grow large enough to significantly reduce the blood's flow through an artery. When a plaque formation becomes brittle or inflamed, it may rupture, triggering a blood clot to form. A clot may either further narrow the artery, or completely block it.
If the blockage remains in the peripheral arteries, it can cause pain, changes in skin color, sores or ulcers and difficulty walking. Total loss of circulation to the legs and feet can cause gangrene and loss of a limb.
Adapted from - http://www.heart.org/