Arteries are part of the circulatory system (heart, veins, arteries and capillaries). Arteries carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to all parts of the body.
Normally, blood flows smoothly through the arteries. Sometimes the arteries become narrow. The vessels cannot carry the oxygen-enriched blood to the legs and feet.
Causes of Arterial Disease
Atherosclerosis (a.k.a. "hardening of the arteries") occurs because the arteries become rough and narrow. This is due to deposits of cholesterol and plaque blocking the artery.
Other common causes of arterial disease are:
Damaged, diseased, or weakened vessels;
Blood that clots too easily;
Abnormal connections between arteries and veins
Some common risk factors for arterial disease are smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, overweight, and family history of arterial disease. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk of developing arterial disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Arterial Disease
You may notice some of these signs and symptoms if you are have decreased blood flow to your legs and feet:
Pain while resting;
Pain when walking (may be relieved with rest);
Decreased hair growth on legs;
Paleness of the feet or legs when raised;
Purple coloration of the feet;
Tingling or numbness of legs and feet;
Cool temperature of skin;
Sore or wound that will not heal;
Absence of pulse in the foot.
Treatment of Arterial Disease
Diet low in saturated fats;
Medicine to dilate vessels;
Possible surgical repair of an aneurysm or abnormal connection between arteries and veins.