Peripheral artery disease (peripheral arterial disease) is a commonly found medical condition under which arteries that are blocked or narrowed decrease the proper flow of blood to body parts like arms and legs. This blood flows from the heart and is supplied to different parts of the body for proper functioning. Therefore, the body must receive 

What is Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can be found commonly among the common public. This generally affects arms, legs, or other body parts, especially the lower body. The blood supply is cut off when these essential body parts do not receive a sufficient amount of blood to function properly, this creates pain or numbness making it difficult for the person to live a healthy life. 


Four stages of Peripheral artery disease are mentioned as follows 

Stage 1: Asymptomatic PAD 

This is the very initial stage of peripheral artery disease developing. If the condition. Is here and now diagnosed, and it gives the medical team the ability to reduce its effects and stop it from worsening. Therefore, in this first stage, the condition can be stopped from progressing. 

Stage 2: Claudication 

This is the next stage, as many times symptoms do not start to appear in the very beginning. In this situation, mild symptoms like pain, discomfort, and irritation can be felt. This pain may be experienced especially while walking or exercising and go away as soon as the person settles to rest for a while. 

Stage 3: Critical limb reduction of blood flow 

This stage can be considered a critical one as the blood flow is reduced to a heavy amount, causing the legs to pain during rest time and ever the whole night the pain goes on to continue. In this stage the treatment becomes urgent and it is always advisable to consult the medical surgeon to help relieve the condition. 

Stage 4: Acute Limb Ischemia 

This is the most servers and difficult stage of peripheral artery disease developing rapidly and the condition has become more than critical. If not treated in time, this results in abrupt loss of blood giving tingling sensation, sudden loss of pulse, and severe pain. At times, this may become life-threatening. 

Causes of Peripheral Artery Disease

The most common cause of peripheral artery disease is the collecting or clotting of fatty plaque in the narrowed arteries known as atherosclerosis. In such circumstances, it is difficult for the heart to successfully supply the required blood to the arms and legs. 

How Is It Formed

Peripheral artery disease is formed as the heart functions to provide blood to the arteries but the blood clots cause fatty plaque to clots due to the narrowing of the artery and block the blood from reaching the arms or legs. 


Firstly, it is not always necessary that a peripheral artery disease may show physical symptoms. Sometimes, the condition may develop without any symptoms at all, or in certain cases, only leg pain is felt. Generally, this condition occurs more commonly in arms and legs, some quick symptoms to look for are: 

  • 1. Cramping in arms and legs. 
  • 2. Muscle pain.
  • 3. Pain while exercising that only goes off with taking rest. 
  • 4. Mild to severe pain while walking. 
  • 5. Difficulty doing physical activities. 
  • 6. Hard to move the body.

Other minor symptoms to take note of are: 

  • 1. Numbness or weakness in the legs 
  • 2. The skin colour of the legs changing 
  • 3. Feeling coldness in the legs 
  • 4. Having a weak pulse or no pulse in the legs
  • 5. Sores on the legs and toes 

These symptoms of experiencing pain may lead to severe cases of pain or discomfort. The person may feel pain even while resting or lying down in such a situation, a temporary relief can be gained simply by this habit of hanging your legs over the edge of the bed. 


For peripheral artery disease, the diagnosis includes learning about the patient’s physical symptoms and the doctor will take notes about your medical history. 

Physical tests 

  • 1. Blood test 
  • 2. Ultrasound of the legs or the feet 
  • 3. Ankle-brachial index 
  • 4. Angiography


  • 1. Lifestyle changes must include controlling – cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and tobacco. 
  • 2. Stay at a balanced and healthy height 
  • 3. Regularly walk for 20 minutes each day. 


  • 1. Don’t overdo anything 
  • 2. Don’t take excessive stress 
  • 3. Don’t try to treat yourself 
  • 4. Don’t smoke 
  • 5. Don’t delay treatment for PAD


Medications called statins are generally known to be prescribed for PAD treatment. Apart from this following are the ways a peripheral artery disease is treated. 

Non Surgical Treatments

Lifestyle changes For the cases of PAD that is still initially developing, lifestyle changes will help prevent it from getting any worse. This includes improving eating habits to eating fully healthy foods and ensuring to have a fibre-rich diet and plenty of water. 

Another way to have an improved lifestyle is through sleep for at least 6 hours. Good sleep is itself a remedy for many ailments. 

Next, keep a check on your weight. Imbalanced weight can cause health complications. Lastly, other lifestyle factors include bringing daily exercising to your life: yoga, meditating, and walking in nature. 

Medication Some of the effective medications usually prescribed by doctors include 

  • 1. Blood sugar control medicines 
  • 2. Diabetes control medications
  • 3. Cholesterol control medicines
  • 4. Leg pain relief medicines 

Surgical Treatments

Angioplasty and stent placement This procedure is as much as beneficial to treat blocked vessels, it is a healthy option to open clogged arteries. 

Thrombolytic therapy If a peripheral artery disease is caused due to blood clotting in the artery, this therapy will help dissolve the clot directly. 

Bypass surgery A path is created either by a synthetic one or using a healthy blood vessel around the artery that has been clotted. 

Risks and Complications


  • 1. Aging 
  • 2. Diabetes 
  • 3. Smoking 
  • 4. High blood pressure 
  • 5. Cholesterol 
  • 6. Stroke 
  • 7. Heart disease 

If Left Untreated

Peripheral artery disease if left untreated, delayed its treatment, or confused with other relatable symptoms of other medical conditions, may raise higher risks and cause other conditions like a heart attack. It may result in gangrene and amputation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main cause of peripheral artery disease?

The main cause or reason responsible for the development of peripheral artery disease is the process of atherosclerosis. This is when the heart tries to send blood to the arms and legs through the vessels but due to the blockage, the fat plague gets built up in arteries. This causes peripheral artery disease. 

What is the best treatment for peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral arteries disease can be treated through one of the following treatment options. 

  • 1. Lifestyle changes
  • 2. Improve your artery health 
  • 3. Manage the physical symptoms of PAD 
  • 4. Medications: Cho)pectoral drugs, medicines to control blood sugar or blood pressure medications. 
  • 5. Surgery: Bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stent placement and therapy.

Is peripheral artery disease serious?

Peripheral artery disease isn’t immediately severe or brings life-threatening complications for the patient. But, as the heart stops flowing blood to the arms or legs, and results in atherosclerosis. This can be a matter of serious concern. 

What are the warning signs of peripheral artery disease?

The symptoms or the warning signs of peripheral artery disease include numbness in the legs, and weakness I. The legs, pain, or discomfort while walking and sensing weak pulse or no pulse in the legs. 

Does walking help peripheral arteries?

Yes, walking can show effective results for those with peripheral artery disease. It helps the body to move and function properly. Through this, the blood is properly supplied to all the parts of the body, especially the arms, and legs. 

How can I test my PAD at home?

One of the simple physical tests that can be done at home to see if it is a peripheral artery disease is the leg elevation test. 

  • 1. First, lie on your back on a comfortable floor/mat. 
  • 2. Bring upward your legs to 60 degrees.
  • 3. Now, extend your knees for approx 1 minute 
  • 4. Finally, poor flow of blood will be visible and may seem painful or pale. 

What age does PAD start?

Usually, the recorded age of the Peripheral artery disease motif is 40 years and above. Also, sometimes some other conditions might be confused with the PAD.

How can I check my leg circulation at home?

To check for leg circulation at home, try out the leg elevation test at home. This is a simple exercise-based test that will help you to see the leg with weaker blood flow. 


  • 1. Lie down on a comfortable mat. 
  • 2. Raise your legs to 60 degrees. 
  • 3. Bend your knees and extend it for approximately 1 minute. 
  • 4. Now, observe the foot, the one with poor blood flow will feel painful and its color will seem pale. 

How can I increase blood flow to my legs naturally? 

Quick natural tips to amazingly increase the blood flow to the feet and legs are walking, stretching, gentle massage, yoga, compression stockings, and different sitting postures. 

What are the best exercises for leg circulation?

One of the best exercises to fight against peripheral artery disease is the regular habit of walking. Walking helps maintain good blood flow throughout the body. Blood flows from the heart to the lower body and helps the functioning of arms, legs, and other body parts.

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