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Heart & Vascular Institute

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Vascular Clinic > PAD Risk Factors/Symptoms

PAD Risk Factors and Symptoms


Risk Factors

PAD affects 8 to 12 million Americans, many who haven’t been diagnosed. Here are some of the conditions and habits that increase your chance of having or developing PAD:

  • 50 years of age or older
  • Smoking (current or past)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • History of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke
  • African American—African Americans are more than twice as likely to have PAD as their white counterparts.

Think you may be at risk? Take our online risk assessment to find out.


Because PAD often doesn’t cause symptoms, you may have the disease and not know it. Or, you may ignore the symptoms thinking they are a natural part of aging or from another cause. Contact your doctor if you are experience:

  • Leg muscle fatigue, heaviness or cramping when walking or climbing stairs, that goes away once the activity stops, and during rest.
  • Pain in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep.
  • Sores or wounds on toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all.
  • A lower temperature in one leg compared to the other.
  • Poor nail growth and decreased hair growth on toes and legs.

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