Pain in your legs or arms could be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that affects about 8 million Americans aged 40 and older. Understanding the signs and symptoms of this disease will better ensure you get the treatment you need if you have PAD.
People who have PAD usually notice symptoms in their legs, although the condition can also affect the arms. PAD results from blood vessels that become partially or fully blocked by plaque, a waxy substance that’s made up of fat and cholesterol. Depending on where this happens, less blood may flow to your legs or arms. Poor blood flow can affect the health of your limbs and can cause uncomfortable symptoms since blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues.
If you have PAD, you may have one or more of these symptoms:
Anyone can develop PAD, but your risk may be higher if you are over age 60, smoke or have high blood pressure, diabetes, hardening of the arteries or high cholesterol. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, PAD may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and infection. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
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