• What Causes P.A.D.?

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    P.A.D. is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits, or plaque, inside the arteries that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the lower part of the body. When arteries become partly or completely blocked with plaque, atherosclerosis (ATH-ero-skla-RO-sis), or “hardening of the arteries,” occurs.

    As plaque builds up inside vessel walls, it narrows the channel through which blood can flow. When blood flow is restricted or completely blocked, the delivery of oxygen and nutrients needed by your muscles and organs to function is slowed or, in the worst case, completely blocked.

    Muscles and organs placed under additional stress, such as during exercise, need more oxygen and nutrients. But if the vessels are narrowed or blocked, the blood is unable to deliver sufficient quantities. Insufficient blood flow and oxygen to the muscles causes pain. When at rest, the pain goes away (unless severe blockage exists) because the muscles are receiving the blood and oxygen they need.