Why does peripheral artery disease (PAD) matter?
Peripheral artery disease happens when fatty deposits build up in arteries outside the heart, usually the arteries supplying fresh oxygen and blood to the arms, legs and feet.
Is PAD dangerous or life threatening?
Yes, PAD is dangerous because these blockages can restrict circulation to the limbs, organs and brain. Without adequate blood flow, vital organs, legs, arms and feet, and your brain, suffer damage. Left untreated, the tissue can die or harbor infection such as gangrene.
Does PAD cause additional health problems?
PAD may be the first warning sign of atherosclerosis – chronic fatty deposit build-ups – throughout your arteries. The whole circulatory system, including your heart and brain, are at risk when arteries are blocked and narrowed. Fatty deposits also increase the risk for vascular inflammation and blood clots that can block the blood supply and cause tissue death.
PAD is potentially a life-threatening condition that can be managed or even reversed with proper care.
View an illustration of PAD
This content was last reviewed on 8/05/2014.