Skip to main content

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Commonwealth Vein Center

Vascular, Vein and Wound Specialists & Cardiologists located in Colonial Heights, VA & Richmond, VA, & McLean, VA

If leg pain, cramps, or weakness prevents you from enjoying life to its fullest, you could have peripheral artery disease (PAD). At Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, Richmond, and McLean, Virginia, the team of vein and vascular experts offer a variety of PAD treatments to provide symptom relief. Call the nearest office to schedule an appointment or book one online today.

Peripheral Arterial Disease Q & A

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease, also called PAD, is a condition that affects your circulatory system due to narrowed arteries that reduce blood flow to your arms and legs. It often occurs in your legs, producing unpleasant or painful symptoms when left untreated. 

Peripheral artery disease is common, affecting 10-20% of people over age 60. It commonly develops because of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in artery walls. Visit a Commonwealth Vein Center specialist at the first sign of a problem to reduce your risk of serious complications.

What are the common symptoms of PAD?

If you have PAD, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Leg weakness
  • Cramping
  • Leg or hip pain
  • Pain in the calves when walking
  • Hair loss on your legs or feet
  • Cold legs or feet
  • Brittle toenails
  • Numbness in your legs or feet
  • Slow toenail growth
  • Leg or foot ulcers (non-healing wounds)
  • Pale, shiny, or blue-colored skin on your legs
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Complications that can develop with untreated PAD include heart attack, stroke, and circulatory problems that cause non-healing sores and infections.

What are the risk factors for peripheral artery disease?

While peripheral artery disease can happen to anyone, factors that increase your risk of having it include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Older age
  • Family history of PAD

Ways to reduce your risk of peripheral artery disease include getting regular exercise, controlling blood sugar if you have diabetes, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. You should also eat nutritious foods, refrain from smoking, and maintain a healthy body weight.

How does my doctor diagnose PAD?

To find out if you have PAD and develop a treatment plan, Commonwealth Vein Center specialists discuss your symptoms and medical history. They check your pulse, blood pressure (including blood pressure in your ankle), and other vital signs and complete a physical exam.

Your provider may suggest blood tests, angiography, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRAs, CT scans, or other imaging procedures to confirm a PAD diagnosis.

What are common treatments for peripheral artery disease?

Common peripheral artery disease treatments include:

Lifestyle changes

Adopting healthy eating and exercise habits, as well as refraining from smoking, can reduce symptoms linked to PAD.


Taking certain medicines can offer you symptom relief or treat the underlying cause of PAD, giving you a better quality of life with a low risk of complications.


In some cases, your specialist recommends surgery to repair narrowed or blocked blood vessels. They offer angioplasty, bypass surgery, blood clot-dissolving injections, or other procedures to lower your risk of serious complications.

If you suspect you have peripheral artery disease or you’re at risk of developing it, schedule an evaluation at Commonwealth Vein Center by calling the nearest office or booking online today.