The human body’s circulatory system is a fascinating thing. It delivers life-giving oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body, including those cells that are deep inside your organs. If you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) — which affects about 12 million people in America — your arteries supplying blood flow to these inner areas may be narrowed or blocked by plaque buildup, causing pain, numbness, and problems with simple daily tasks like walking upstairs. Speak with a peripheral arterial disease specialist to get the proper assistance. Book an appointment with Dr. Andrew Doe in Houston. Let’s learn more about PAD and common signs pointing to it.

Leg Numbness or Weakness

In the United States, PAD is often referred to as “pain in the legs.” This pain can be described as a tired, heavy, burning, or cramping feeling. The pain may go away if you rest your leg muscles for a few minutes. PAD’s leg pain caused by PAD typically worsens with walking and goes away when you sleep.

Slower Growth of Your Toenails

Did you ever notice how your toenails grow slowly? When the arterial disease affects the peripheral arteries in your legs, the health of your nails is affected as well. You may see a slower growth rate or a yellowish color on one or all of your toenails.

Painful Cramping in Your Foot or Leg

PAD can also cause a tingling feeling on the sole of your foot. This is often referred to as claudication, which means you have pain when walking. You may experience cramping in one of your legs regularly. The cramping typically goes away after resting for five minutes or so.

Hair Loss or Slower Hair Growth on Your Feet and Legs

PAD can cause hair loss on your feet and lower legs. It’s typically due to not getting enough blood flow, which is key for the health of your hair follicles. Healthy hair growth occurs in three phases: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). Blood circulation needed for healthy hair growth occurs during the anagen stage. If blood flow is decreased, as is the case with PAD, your hair may grow slowly, change color or become thin and brittle.

Erectile Dysfunction in Men

Erectile dysfunction (ED) in men is a common side effect of PAD. ED typically develops when a blockage prevents blood from flowing into the penis to keep an erection going. While you may need to be tested for ED if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as decreased sensation during intercourse, try not to worry if you only have ED. About half of all men over the age of 60 will deal with ED at least once.

Shiny Skin on Your Legs

PAD can cause the skin on your lower legs to become shiny and tight. This arises from a loss of fat, which affects your skin’s elasticity. Although it won’t hurt if your shin becomes shiny, you may want to get PAD treated, as this symptom is one of the most common signs of the disease.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is essential to see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of PAD can help prevent more severe health problems from developing. While some of these symptoms may seem harmless on their own, they could be a sign that something more serious is happening in your body. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about them.