We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Difference Between Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and restless leg syndrome (RLS) may have some symptoms in common, but are quite different illnesses. They do, however, both primarily affect the legs, and both can be treated. However, causes for PAD are easier to identify than causes for RLS in many cases.

Narrowing in the arteries due to fatty deposits causes PAD. In this way, it is like the artery disease that affects the heart. PAD may also sometimes be referred to as peripheral vascular disease, since PAD may also cause other arteries like those in the neck to become blocked.

With one exception, PAD generally has a known cause. However, in functional PAD, the blood vessels and arteries are fine, but occasionally a spasm will occur provoking severe pain. Spasms may be linked to cold weather, smoking or exercise.

In organic PAD, the cause is clearly narrowed artery pathways. In early stages this can cause leg cramping during exercise that ceases at the end of the exercise. PAD sufferers are also at high risk for stroke, since an artery can become blocked and send a blood clot to the brain.

Generally PAD is addressed through changes in lifestyle. These include quitting smoking, following a low fat diet, and getting regular exercise. PAD sufferers may also take anticoagulant agents to prevent blood clots, or may also take medication to lower cholesterol. In some cases, those with PAD require angioplasty to open up narrowed veins.

In primary RLS, the condition may be linked to inheritance. Generally there is no known cause. Symptoms of RLS include urge to move the legs when one is sitting or lying down, and pins and needles or feelings like things are crawling on the legs. PAD can be associated with sleep difficulties too, as pain in the legs may make sleep difficult. With RLS, sleep is often affected by the legs spasming or moving when one has just settled down to sleep. Thus nighttime waking is quite common.

Certain psychiatric medications, diseases like diabetes, and use of caffeine and tobacco may cause secondary RLS. Often this type of RLS is completely curable if diseases can be cured or if the cause is identified and removed.

For those with incurable RLS, medications and lifestyle changes like refraining from smoking can help reduce symptoms. Both RLS and PAD can be alleviated by the patient removing certain activating agents like nicotine.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.