Also known as peripheral artery disease or peripheral vascular disease, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is plaque buildup in your leg arteries that carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from your heart throughout your body. The plaque is known as atherosclerosis and forms gradually along the artery walls.
The plaque buildups can also cause blood platelets to attach to the walls and form a blood clot. If your arteries become narrowed or blocked, blood can’t get through to nourish tissues and organs.
Peripheral artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries of your legs or arms, also known as atherosclerosis. Similar to atherosclerosis in your heart’s arteries, as plaque builds up in the legs and arms, the arteries become narrower and restrict blood flow.
Palpitations are sensations you feel when your heart rate speeds up or when you can feel it thumping in your chest. They are common and causes include exercise, stress, and caffeine. Arrhythmias are disruptions in regular heart rhythm and can have more serious symptoms, such as chest pain, light-headedness, and shortness of breath. If you believe you are experiencing arrhythmias, schedule an appointment with a St. Luke’s Health cardiologist.
Caring for your heart health is the best and easiest way to prevent heart disease. Eating a heart-healthy diet, staying active, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding stress can keep your heart strong.
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