Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) — also called peripheral vascular disease, or PVD — is a circulation problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the arms and legs. This reduced blood flow can cause painful cramping, especially in the calf, thigh or buttocks.
Because PAD increases the risk of amputation, stroke and heart attack, it’s important to seek treatment from an outstanding vascular team like you’ll find at Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular.
How PAD forms
The most common cause of peripheral arterial disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the arteries, usually as a result of damage to the inner layers of the arteries from:
- High amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood
- High blood pressure
- High amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes
Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to organs and other parts of your body.
What are the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease?
In addition to buttock and leg cramps, PAD can cause:
- Feet that are cool to the touch
- Leg or foot pain when lying flat that’s relieved by sitting
- Loss of pulse in legs or feet
- Redness, color changes in the skin
- Shiny skin
- Sores that do not heal (leg ulcers)
Notably, about half of people with PAD have no symptoms at all.
The importance of PAD treatment
Left untreated, PAD is a leading cause of amputation. It also puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke and death.
If you have PAD, our vascular team can work with you to create a custom treatment plan that may include lifestyle changes, medication and, if necessary, PAD surgery. To learn more or schedule an appointment in Portland, call 503-256-1575.