The most common cause of
peripheral arterial disease is the buildup of
plaque inside blood vessels called arteries. Plaque is made up of
cholesterol, calcium, and other substances in your
bloodstream. Over time, plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries,
including the arteries that feed your legs. The plaque deposits decrease the
space through which oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood can flow. Poor blood flow
"starves" the muscles and other tissues in the lower body.
In very rare cases,
peripheral arterial disease can be unrelated to atherosclerosis and caused
instead by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) and old injuries that
damaged blood vessels.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 27, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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