Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
The most common form of peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis. The arteries most commonly affected are those that carry blood to your legs and pelvis. Lack of blood to these areas causes the symptoms associated with PAD.
Calf or thigh pain with exercise is termed claudication. Claudication is an early sign of PAD. The discomfort may consist of cramping, limping, or a feeling of heaviness, weakness, or fatigue in the legs. Symptoms of claudication usually begin after walking a certain distance—such as a block or two—and end after resting for the same length each time.
Often, symptoms affect one leg. If arteriosclerosis exists in both limbs, the severity is often different from one side to the other.
Other symptoms of PAD include the following:
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Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 09/26/2012