Peripheral Arterial Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Management

Persistent leg pain, aches, and cramps should not be ignored, since they could indicate an underlying medical condition, such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). It is a long-term disease but it can be improved by lifestyle management and vascular intervention. 

Vascular specialists can treat peripheral arterial disease Coconut Creek through interventional vascular radiology procedures.

What is peripheral arterial disease?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when your legs do not receive sufficient blood. This deprives them of all the essential nutrients and oxygen, leading to vein and muscle weakness. This eventually leads to leg pain and discomfort. 

What are the contributing factors for PAD?

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of peripheral arterial disease. This condition occurs due to high cholesterol levels which can accumulate as fats within your artery walls. These deposits are known as plaque buildup that leads to arterial vasoconstriction (narrowing), thereby reducing the blood flow within them. 

Plaque deposits can harden and break loose dislodging into the bloodstream causing blood clots. The clots can further restrict blood flow or even cut off blood completely.

Risk factors for high cholesterol include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Sedentary (inactive) lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Renal disease
  • Blood clotting disorders 

What are the symptoms associated with PAD?

The first symptom of PAD is intermittent claudication, which means the presence of persistent pain, cramping, or discomfort in your legs and buttocks. 

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Burning or aching pain in your feet while resting
  • Pain increases while walking and may subside once you sit down
  • Redness and other discoloration of the skin
  • Poor wound healing (due to lack of oxygen and nutrients in the area)
  • Non-healing wounds may lead to gangrene (tissue death) that can spread and require amputation 

How can PAD be managed?

The main goals of PAD treatment are to relieve pain, restore blood flow to the affected artery, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications. 

Treatment includes

Lifestyle modifications

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking and tobacco use
  • Reduce stress levels through yoga and meditation
  • Practice good foot and skin care


  • Drugs to control hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol
  • Drugs also decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack

Surgical intervention 

  • Revascularization procedures are minimally invasive and include:
    • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
    • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)


Peripheral arterial disease, though a long-term condition, can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes, and medications. 

However, minimally invasive revascularization procedures provide optimal outcomes, improving your quality of life. It is crucial to know the warning signs of PAD to seek medical help.