Peripheral arterial disease in the legs represents a subset of atherosclerosis that manifests a particularly sinister profile. A predominance of sympathetic activity in the periphery favors the development of neurogenic atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis may then produce flow derangements and decreased physical activity that serves to escalate sympathetic bias in a vicious cycle. Restoration of normal flow in peripheral arterial disease may not only produce local benefit due to improved perfusion, but also represent a gateway to correcting many systemic conditions that may at first glance appear unrelated but share a common etiology of autonomic dysfunction, such as gout, acute coronary syndromes, stroke, sleep apnea, arrhythmias, depression, erectile dysfunction, inflammation, hypercoagulability, sleep disorders, bowel dysfunction, renal failure, and aging.
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