Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is damage or disease of the arteries outside of the heart and brain. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to hardworking organs and tissues through all of the body's arteries. Injuries to the arteries can interrupt this blood flow, and impair delivery of nutrients and oxygen. Impaired blood flow can affect the health of tissue in the arms, legs, and body core. Severe interruptions in blood flow can cause functional problems, such as cramping or fatigue with minor activity.
Prolonged, untreated PAD can lead to serious complications such as death of affected tissue, serious infection, and amputation. Factors that cause PAD can also affect blood vessels in heart and brain. This means people with PAD also have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.