Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Artery Disease is a disease caused by the occlusion or narrowing of arteries that reduces the blood flow to the extremities. The lack of blood flow may cause symptoms due to the inability of the blood flow to cope up with the demands of the limbs.

Peripheral Vascular diseases are usually due to the widespread accumulation of fatty deposits and plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis) outside the heart and brain. The major risk factors for Peripheral Vascular Disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity

PVD Symptoms and Diagnosis

Peripheral vascular disease may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Painful cramping of thigh and hip
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in lower leg
  • Non-healing sores in the foot or leg
  • Change in color of legs
  • Hair loss in leg or feet
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Peripheral studies with ultrasound or angiography may confirm the diagnosis of Peripheral Vascular Disease.

Treatment Options

There are two approaches in the treatment of PVD, first is the control of symptoms like leg pain so that affected individuals may resume daily activities and the prevention in the progression of atherosclerosis to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The following treatment options may be available for PVD.

Medications – Medications like cholesterol lowering agents may reduce atherosclerosis. Anti-hypertensives may greatly help in the prevention of PVD. Medications to control diabetes and blood clots should also be in place for those affected with such conditions. Analgesics may also be used to relieve pain.

Surgery – Angioplasty makes use of a catheter inserted in the major vessel and is brought to the obstructed vessel where a balloon is inflated to enlarge the diameter of the lumen. Bypass surgery may be afforded to avert the obstructed vessel. Thrombolysis may also be used to dissolve clots from the vessel.

Supervised Exercise Program – These are sets of supervised exercises aimed to increase the walking distance of the individual while pain free.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.