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Living With Peripheral Arterial Disease

If you have peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.), you're more likely to also have coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic 
("mini-stroke"). However, you can take steps to treat and control P.A.D. and lower your risk for these other conditions.

Living With Peripheral Arterial Disease Symptoms

If you have P.A.D., you may feel pain in your calf or thigh muscles after walking. Try to take a break and allow the pain to ease before walking again. Over time, this may increase the distance that you can walk without pain.

Talk with your doctor about taking part in a supervised exercise program. This type of program has been shown to reduce P.A.D. symptoms.

Check your feet and toes regularly for sores or possible infections. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well. Maintain good foot hygiene and have professional medical treatment for corns, bunions, or calluses.

Ongoing Health Care Needs and Lifestyle Changes

See your doctor for checkups as he or she advises. If you have P.A.D. without symptoms, you should still see your doctor regularly. Take all medicines as your doctor prescribes.

Lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay P.A.D. and other related problems, such as CHD, heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, controlling risk factors, being physically active, and following a healthy diet.

For more information about lifestyle changes, go to "How Can Peripheral Arterial Disease Be Treated?"

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Peripheral Arterial Disease Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Peripheral Arterial Disease, visit

June 02, 2014 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.