Diseases of the blood vessels located outside the heart and brain refers to peripheral arterial disease (PAD). It affects the blood vessels outside the heart causing them to narrow, thus, restricting the blood flow to the body.
In United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Peripheral arterial disease is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attack. This is common to smokers. The most common symptoms associated with peripheral arterial disease are hair loss on the feet and legs, numbness and weakness in the legs, brittle toenails, and erectile dysfunction.
The most common cause of peripheral arterial disease is atherosclerosis. It is a gradual process in which a fatty material builds up inside the arteries. Thus, blood flow through the arteries can be restricted or blocked totally.