Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, damages your arteries, the blood vessels that deliver blood from the heart throughout the body. Peripheral arterial disease causes arteries to your arms or legs to narrow or become clogged. This most often results from hardening of your arteries or atherosclerosis. The plaque associated with atherosclerosis blocks blood flow and prevents oxygen from reaching tissue.
In the legs, these blockages can cause claudication, a term used to describe recurrent pain or weakness in the legs that occurs while walking that is relieved by rest. In its more severe form, peripheral arterial disease may cause critical limb ischemia.
Critical limb ischemia occurs when the inadequate blood flow and oxygen to a specific part of the body is so compromised it results in severe rest pain or tissue loss, such as a non-healing sore or even gangrene. If the tissue of the limb has been affected; this requires immediate attention by an interventional vascular specialist.