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The most common symptom of PAD is pain and cramping in the legs, called intermittent claudication. If your legs cramp after walking short distances, your doctor may want to look for disease in the arteries that supply your legs. The physical exam usually consists of looking at your feet, and feeling for pulses in your legs and feet. Tests may include:

You will also be evaluated for accompanying problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of cholesterol and other blood fats.

References:

CT angiography. Vascular Web website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/ct-angiography.aspx. Updated September 4, 2009. Accessed August 8, 2013.

How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/diagnosis.html. Updated April 1, 2011. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 3, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Symptoms and diagnosis of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/PeripheralArteryDisease/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-PAD_UCM_301306_Article.jsp. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO; Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.