Peripheral artery disease – legs

Alternative Names

Peripheral vascular disease; PVD; PAD; Arteriosclerosis obliterans; Blockage of leg arteries; Claudication; Intermittent claudication; Vaso-occlusive disease of the legs; Arterial insufficiency of the legs; Recurrent leg pain and cramping; Calf pain with exercise

Definition of Peripheral artery disease – legs

Peripheral artery disease is a condition of the blood vessels that leads to narrowing and that supply the legs and feet.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Peripheral artery disease is caused by , or “hardening of the arteries.” This problem occurs when fatty material (plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower. The walls of the arteries also become stiffer and cannot widen (dilate) to allow greater blood flow when needed.

Symptoms

The classic symptoms are pain, achiness, fatigue, burning, or discomfort in the muscles of your feet, calves, or thighs. These symptoms usually appear during walking or exercise and go away after several minutes of rest.

Signs and tests

During an examination, the health care provider may find:

Treatment

Self-care:

Expectations (prognosis)

You can usually control peripheral artery disease of the legs without surgery. Surgery provides good symptom relief in severe cases.

Review

Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/17/2010

Arteriosclerosis of the extremities

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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