Mariano Arosemena, MD explains peripheral artery disease. 

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. PAD can occur in any blood vessel but is more common in the legs than the arms. Left untreated, it can lead to serious problems including removal of a limb. 

The vascular specialists team at UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of PAD.

Risk Factors for Peripheral Artery Disease

Those who smoke or have diabetes have a greater risk of developing peripheral artery disease in their lifetime.

Other risk factors include:

  • Advanced age (age 60 or older)
  • Extended inactivity
  • Family history of artery-related disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity

Men and women have a similar risk of developing PAD, but it affects men and women differently.


Know Your Risk: Peripheral artery disease is among the conditions that a vascular screening can detect. If you have risk factors, consider getting a vascular screening. If you're not sure of your risk, take our vascular health risk assessment to learn more.  


PAD Symptoms

  • Blue or black discoloration of the legs
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness of the feet
  • Pain, aching, heaviness or cramping in the legs with physical activity (such as walking) that gets better after rest
  • Sores or wounds on your toes, feet or legs that do not heal

Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral artery disease can help reduce your risk for serious complications.

PAD is diagnosed based on a review of your medical and family history, a physical exam, and other tests and procedures. Treatment can include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, an exercise program, medications and, in severe cases, a medical procedure or surgery.

The team at the Vascular Center at UM BWMC will help you decide what treatments are best for you.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment with the Vascular Center at UM BWMC, call 410-553-8300.

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Are You at Risk for Vascular Disease?

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