Published: Jan. 2, 2012
Updated: Jan. 2, 2012
Duke cardiologist Manesh Patel, MD, explains what peripheral arterial disease is, including symptoms and tests to indicate if you have this disease.
I tell patients that peripheral arterial disease is the same sort of disease as heart disease.
Heart disease is obstructions in arteries to your heart because of atherosclerosis. These obstructions can also be in arteries to your neck, to your kidney, to your legs.
So peripheral arterial disease is disease in the arteries that aren't the heart arteries.
Patients with PAD have five to eight times the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The most common symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is pain on walking.
If you walk 30 feet and your calves get tight and painful, and the pain subsides when you stop and relax, it could be a symptom of PAD.
It’s a very simple test called the ankle brachial index.
You put a blood pressure cuff on your arm and one on your leg. The blood pressure in your arm should be the same as your leg.
If the blood pressure in your leg is decreased, we assume that there is a narrowing or a blockage somewhere between your arm and your leg. This test gives us an idea of whether you have peripheral arterial disease.