Study Finds Link between Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) And Sleep

Close-up of alarm clock on night tableAs more studies are conducted, mounting evidence is showing a relationship between peripheral artery disease (PAD) and sleep. PAD is often caused by atherosclerosis, which is when there’s a buildup of fats and other debris from the bloodstream in the arteries.

The symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD) can range from mild to severe. Some patients may report no symptoms at all, while others can suffer from a range of painful issues. Leg pain is the most reported symptom that can lead to loss of sleep. PAD most commonly affects the legs, but other arteries may also be affected, such as the arms, neck, or kidneys.


The leg pain and cramping, called claudication, causes severe pain and cramping when walking. The pain is usually located in the calf muscles and is relieved by rest. It occurs due to the muscle needing more oxygen during the exercise.

Usually, the arteries can increase blood flow and increase the amount of oxygen going to the exercised leg. In someone with PAD, the blood vessels cannot meet the increased demand for oxygen, which leads to the muscles being overly saturated with lactic acid.

Research has shown that the range of symptoms associated with PAD may cause sleep disturbances in some people. For those who experience mild symptoms, doctors often recommend a supervised exercise program. This usually consists of walking on a treadmill while supervised by a health care professional. If leg cramping or pain in the legs starts, they will continue to advise the patient to keep walking.

A regular exercise routine has shown to be helpful in the management of PAD and sleep-related disturbances. For those with claudication, it can help open alternative small vessels, and the limitation in walking often improves. Walking for 35 to 50 minutes three or four times a week has been reviewed with positive outcomes, including a reduction in cardiovascular events and improved quality of life.

Greatest Risk Factors

One of the most significant risks for PAD is smoking. Others include diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and high blood cholesterol. Approximately 155 million people worldwide have PAD, and it becomes more common with age. To help prevent PAD, researchers suggest quitting smoking, regularly exercising, and managing high blood pressure and cholesterol.

If sleep disruptions become troublesome, doctors recommend seeking treatment. Sleep loss over a long period is associated with coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, and an increased risk of stroke, obesity, and heart attack.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.