Usually, the leg symptoms from PAD will improve or stabilize with proper medical treatment and exercise, although a small percentage of patients with PAD can have worsening leg symptoms over time. It is important to know, however, that the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with PAD is much higher than in people without PAD. Thus, the medical treatment focuses on reducing this cardiovascular risk (i.e., risk of a heart attack and stroke). Taking good care of the feet, including having the patient look as his or her own feet daily, is also important because one of the other complications of PAD can be ulcerations (sores) which may not heal due to poor circulation. Diagnosis and treatment of PAD may help to prevent limb amputation, which is a particular concern in patients with diabetes.
Patients with PAD should be aware of the other conditions that may occur with PAD such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease (or kidney artery blockage).