A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop peripheral artery disease 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.