A leg up on peripheral artery disease

The condition causes leg pain and fatigue that make activity difficult, but lifestyle changes can improve how you feel.

The occasional leg pain or stiffness is often not cause for concern, but if pain or fatigue develops after just a few minutes of walking or climbing stairs, it could be an early sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

"PAD not only interferes with an active lifestyle, but also can put you at higher risk for a heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Michael Belkin, chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "You can't cure PAD once it occurs, so you want to take measures to avoid it as much as possible."

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