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Disease Information : PAD : Symptoms

PAD : Symptoms

What is the first thing I might notice if I have peripheral arterial disease?

For many, the first noticeable symptom of PAD is a painful cramping of leg muscles during walking called intermittent claudication.  When a person rests, the cramping goes away.  This leg pain can be severe enough to deter a person from normal walking.

Some individuals will not feel cramping or pain but might feel a numbness, weakness or heaviness in the muscles.

What are some other symptoms?

In patients whose PAD is more severe, insufficient blood flow to the feet and legs may cause a burning/aching pain in the feet and toes while resting. The pain will occur particularly at night while lying flat. For more information, visit our section on critical leg ischemia. Other symptoms include

"Silent PAD"

Many people are affected by PAD yet they do not have symptoms. These individuals are at a high risk for suffering an early heart attack or stroke. Research has proven that the life expectancy for a person with PAD is greatly reduced. For example, the risk of dying from heart disease is six times higher for those with PAD compared to those without. Therefore, it is important to discuss the possibility of PAD with a health care professional if someone has several of the risk factors for PAD.

To view a chart comparing PAD death rates, click here.


Peripheral Arterial Disease section was last modified: December 21, 2010 - 06:12 pm

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