Jasmine Head

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has P.A.D., a condition that raises the risk for heart attack and stroke. Peripheral arterial disease, or P.A.D., develops when your arteries become clogged with plaque—fatty deposits that limit blood flow to your legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs mean you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup in the legs does not always cause symptoms, so many people can have P.A.D. and not know it. People who do experience symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, often do not report them, believing they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause. In all, P.A.D. affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States, especially those over 50.


Requires a medical diagnosis

Symptoms may include leg pain, particularly when walking.

People may experience:

Pain areas: in the buttocks

Pain circumstances: can occur in the leg and improved with rest or in the leg while exercising

Skin: cool skin, loss of hair on the legs, thinning of skin on the legs, or ulcers

Consult a doctor for medical advice


Treatment consists of self care and blood thinners

Tobacco cessation, exercise, and a healthy diet are often successful treatments. When these changes aren't enough, medications or surgery can help.


Physical exercise

Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.

Smoking cessation

Quitting smoking tobacco.

Heart healthy diet

A broad category of diets that reduce fat, sugar, and red meat while increasing fruits, vegetables, white meat, and fish.


  • Blood thinners

Helps prevent blood clots from forming or helps dissolve existing clots.

  • Stalin

Decreases the liver's production of harmful cholesterol.

Medical procedure


Unblocking an artery by inflating a balloon inside it. A stent may also be inserted to hold the artery open.