Harvard Heart Letter

Artery disease below the belt

In peripheral artery disease (PAD), the arteries below the heart become clogged with fatty deposits. The main symptom (pain in the calf, thigh, or buttocks with walking that goes away with rest) doesn’t always occur or is mistaken for something else, so PAD often goes unrecognized. But people with PAD likely have narrowed heart and brain arteries as well, putting them at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Treatments include regular walking, medications, and for severe cases, a procedure to open a blocked artery in the leg.
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