Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is diagnosed based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and results from tests.
P.A.D. often is diagnosed after symptoms are reported. An accurate diagnosis is important, because people who have P.A.D. are at increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack ("mini-stroke"). If you have P.A.D., your doctor also may want to look for signs of these conditions.
Primary care doctors, such as internists and family practitioners, may treat people who have mild P.A.D. For more advanced P.A.D., a vascular specialist may be involved. This is a doctor who specializes in treating blood vessel problems.
A cardiologist also may be involved in treating people who have P.A.D. Cardiologists treat heart problems, such as CAD and heart attack, which often affect people who have P.A.D.
Medical and Family Histories
To learn about your medical and family histories, your doctor may ask:
- Whether you have any risk factors for P.A.D.
- About your symptoms, including any symptoms that occur when walking, exercising, sitting, standing, or climbing
- About your diet
- About any medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines
This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.