• Risk Factors for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

    It is possible to develop peripheral artery disease (PAD) with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing peripheral artery disease. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

    Certain Medical Conditions

    Your risk of peripheral artery disease increases if you have one or more of the following medical conditions:
    Treating these conditions early and effectively greatly reduces the progression of atherosclerosis.

    Lifestyle Factors

    The following lifestyle factors can increase your risk of developing peripheral artery disease:
    • Smoking
    • Overeating
    • Overweight
    • Sedentary living


    Peripheral artery disease is a progressive condition. Symptoms usually develop after age 40 in men and age 50 in women, but may occur earlier.


    Men tend to develop peripheral artery disease earlier than women, beginning about age 40.
    Women often develop the condition a decade after menopause. Estrogen appears to be protective during a woman’s childbearing years.

    Family History

    Your risk of developing PAD increases if you have a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or PAD itself.


    American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/ . Accessed August 14, 2008.

    Braunwald E, Fauci AS, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 16th ed. McGraw-Hill Professional; 2004.

    Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 2nd ed. W.B. Saunders; 2003.

    Revision Information

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.