What Causes Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is when plaque or fatty deposits block the arteries that supply blood to the legs. That can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and swelling in your feet and ankles. Peripheral arterial disease El Paso can also affect other body parts, such as your arms or legs. Peripheral arterial disease affects people of all ages and genders, but it is more common in older adults.

The peripheral arterial disease can lead to serious problems with blood flow and increase your chance of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. PAD is often called a peripheral vascular disease or chronic leg pain syndrome because it affects only the vessels near the surface of your skin. A few people develop symptoms from peripheral arterial disease before they know it is happening. The main causes of PAD are:

Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

Atherosclerosis is the major cause of peripheral arterial disease, which occurs when atherosclerotic plaques have formed at or near the origin or insertion points of large arteries such as the femoral or carotid artery. Atherosclerosis is an abnormal plaque growth on an artery’s inner surface. The plaque consists mainly of cholesterol and fatty substances, which results in the narrowing and hardening of the arteries. The narrowing makes it harder for blood to flow through these areas normally, leading to PAD symptoms.


Diabetes is a major cause of peripheral arterial disease and can result in micro- and macrovascular complications. It causes peripheral arterial disease due to loss of cell elasticity in small blood vessels due to inadequate insulin production (insulin resistance). When these cells become scarred, they lose their ability to contract properly, reducing their ability to deliver oxygenated blood to tissues throughout the body.

Vascular injury (due to trauma or surgery)

Traumatic injuries are common in daily life and damage the blood vessels. The damage can be caused by a blow to the body, such as a fall, or it can be caused by other means, such as surgery. This type of vascular damage is usually due to an abrupt injury rather than repetitive trauma over time, which may be more likely in some sports. It is also more likely to occur if an underlying condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, contributed to the accident.


Obesity is a major risk factor for PAD, especially when older than 40. The excess weight puts pressure on your arteries, leading to inflammation and damage that can lead to PAD.

Fungal infections (Candida)

Fungal infections are the most common cause of peripheral arterial disease in people over 65. Candida albicans is a fungus that lives on the skin but can also live in the body’s bloodstream. Candida causes very mild symptoms, like itching and redness. Still, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious symptoms like rashes, hives, and swelling under your skin. Many people who suffer from systemic fungal infections never know they have them because they don’t have any symptoms to tell them otherwise.

The peripheral arterial disease can lead to serious complications, including stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, see your doctor as soon as possible. Contact or visit I-Vascular Center to talk to a doctor and learn more about peripheral arterial disease.