Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.)


Common Symptoms

Some people with P.A.D. do not have any symptoms. Others may have a number of signs and symptoms.

People who have P.A.D. may notice symptoms when walking or climbing stairs. These symptoms may include pain, aching, or heaviness in the leg muscles. Symptoms may also include

  • pain
  • aching, or heaviness in the leg muscles
  • cramping in the affected leg(s) and in the buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.

They may go away after resting. These symptoms are called intermittent claudication (klaw-dih-KA-shen).

If You Have Leg Pain

If you have leg pain when you walk or climb stairs, talk to your doctor. Sometimes older people think that leg pain is part of aging when it could be P.A.D. Tell your doctor if you're feeling pain in your legs, and discuss whether you should be tested for P.A.D.

Other Possible Signs

Possible signs of P.A.D. include

  • weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
  • sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
  • a pale or bluish color to the skin
  • a lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg
  • poor toenail growth and decreased leg hair growth
  • erectile dysfunction, especially in men who have diabetes.

Should I be Checked for P.A.D.?

Even if you don't have symptoms or signs of P.A.D., you could still have the disease. Ask your doctor whether you should get checked for P.A.D. if you are

  • age 70 or older
  • age 50 or older and have a history of smoking or diabetes
  • younger than 50 years old and have diabetes and one or more risk factors for atherosclerosis. These risk factors include high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, and being overweight.