Also referred to as peripheral artery disease, arterial disease in the legs is caused by a condition called arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. This condition occurs when plaque accumulated on the walls of the arteries making them narrow. Consequently, the arteries become stiffer, inhibiting proper flow of blood, as stated by the National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.
This condition inhibits the supply of blood and oxygen to the legs when walking or exercising. If arterial disease becomes severe, there may be lack of oxygen and blood supply to the legs, even when the legs are at rest. This condition is common in men who are 50 years and older, but women can also get it.
Many people who experience this arterial disease of the legs may experience no symptoms, as stated by WebMD. Symptoms can include weakness in the legs, poor growth of the toenails, color change in the legs, hair loss on the legs, sores around the legs and coldness in the lower legs, among others.
It is necessary for a person to see a doctor when he or she starts experiencing any of these symptoms. In some cases, screening may be necessary even if a person does not have any symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic.