Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or leg artery disease is a condition similar to coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. PAD is a problem with blood flow in the arteries that causes leg pain because of decreased arterial blood flow. One of the symptoms of PAD is pain in the muscles of the leg.
Major risk factors for PAD are:
1. Cigarette smoking
2. diabetes mellitus
3. older age (older than 40 years)
People with Type 2 diabetes have 3-4 times the usual risk for PAD and intermittent claudication. They also tend to develop PAD at earlier ages and to be at a significant risk for heart disease. It is important to treat this disease not only because it may place a greater risk for limb loss but also for having a heart attack or stroke. People with PAD are 3 times more likely to die of heart attacks or strokes than normal people.
Exercise training improves blood flow in the leg and in many cases in proving to be as beneficial as medications and surgical procedures in increasing pain free walking distance. Exercise must be regular and consistent of the benefit will be lost.