Clogged Artery in the Leg
Peripheral arterial disease affects between 8 and 12 million Americans, mostly over the age of 50, according to the Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition. Many assume the symptoms of this disease are simply signs of increasing age. That can be a serious mistake as PAD often leads to stroke, heart attack or limb amputation.
The American Heart Association says that peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is “a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys.” Individuals with a clogged artery in the leg suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD), the most common form of PVD.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when fatty deposits (plaque) clog arteries in the leg and restrict normal blood flow. Just as with a blocked coronary artery, this drastically increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Physicians at the Mayo Clinic indicate that many people with PAD experience no severe symptoms. However, approximately 10 percent will notice leg pain in the calf, hips or thighs when walking. This is known as intermittent claudication.
Other symptoms may include sores on toes, numbness in the leg, cold feet, loss of hair on feet and changes in toenails or the color of legs.
The loss of a limb is a serious possibility for those with untreated PAD. Gangrene or tissue death occurs when blood flow to the leg or feet is seriously restricted. Smokers and people with diabetes have a far greater risk of suffering this complication.