What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis. Over eight million Americans have been inflicted with this disease (CDC). Plaque (cholesterol, fat, chemical waste, fibrin, and calcium) builds up in the peripheral arteries. Over time, the buildup causes a blockage of blood flow to the lower and upper extremities, which can lead to some very serious complications.


Peripheral vascular system is made up of the veins and arteries that are located in the upper and lower extremities, chest, and abdomen. Peripheral artery disease normally starts in the lower extremities, but will eventually affect all of the peripheral vascular system, if untreated. The plaque will continue to build up over time, until the artery becomes completely blocked. There is also a high risk for thrombus (blood clot) formation and the development of coronary artery disease.

Click here to discover more information about the cardiovascular system and coronary artery disease.