Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms

Peripheral artery disease symptoms can be easily mistaken as normal complications of aging. Because the most common warning signs occur in the legs and often become more intense with increased strain, it may seem like the new aches and pains are normal. However peripheral artery disease can worsen over time and may cause serious complications if left untreated.  It’s important to see a physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or numbness in the legs
  • Changes in leg temperature or color
  • A shiny appearance to the skin on the leg
  • A slowing of toenail and leg hair growth
  • Wounds on the leg that heal very slowly or not at all

Approximately one in five individuals with peripheral artery disease experience intermittent claudication. Claudication is pain or cramping that is caused by insufficient blood flow and commonly comes about when walking, running, or participating in another type of cardiovascular exercise. It usually only occurs in the legs, but it may occur in the arms as well. Although it often subsides after exercise, as one’s peripheral artery disease advances, the pain may persist even while at rest.

While these symptoms serve as indicators of peripheral artery disease for some, many people with peripheral artery disease do not exhibit any symptoms at all. This makes screening important, particularly for people who:

  • Smoke
  • Are diabetic
  • Have a body mass index greater than 30
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Are over 70 years old
  • Have a family history of heart disease

Tampa General Hospital is well equipped to diagnose and treat many conditions involving the heart, blood vessels, and arteries. We have a state-of-the-art cardiovascular center and have been recognized as one of the country’s top 50 hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. World & News Report.