Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that refers to any disease or disorder of your circulatory system outside of your brain and heart. It’s a broad term that can mean any disorder that affects any of your blood vessels. PVD is sometimes called peripheral artery disease (PAD). The difference is PAD involves only the arteries and PVD includes both arteries and veins.
What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
PVD is most commonly found in artery disease. When fatty buildup exists in your arteries, creating a blockage, you can develop atherosclerosis, which is also called hardening of the arteries. This condition can cause less blood and oxygen flow to your arms, legs and organs. Blood vessels in the legs are the ones most often affected.
Who Does Peripheral Vascular Disease Affect?
● More than 8 million people in the US have peripheral artery disease. About 12 – 20 percent of people over the age of 60 are affected by PAD.
● PAD is more common in the black community compared to any other racial/ethnic group.
● A major risk factor for PVD is smoking.
● Smokers who also have diabetes are at the highest risk for PVD complications. Gangrene (where the tissues die) in the leg can develop due to decreased blood flow.
● People with the following conditions can be affected by PVD: high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and CHD (coronary heart disease).
Many individuals who have
show any signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have a screening by a cardiologist if you’re 70 or older; if you’re 50 or older and have diabetes or smoke; and if you’re younger than 50 and have diabetes and other risk factors. Possible symptoms include:
● Hair loss on the limbs
● Intermittent claudication: leg muscles or hips feel pain when walking or climbing stairs
● Leg weakness
● Coldness in the foot or calf
● Leg numbness
● Brittle and/or slow-growing toenails
● Sores or ulcers on the leg and/or foot that take long to heal or never heal
● Skin on the legs becomes shiny, or turns pale, or has a blue tint
● Hard to find a pulse in the leg or foot
● Male erectile dysfunction
How PVD Is Diagnosed
Ankle-brachial index (ABI), compares the blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm to see how well blood is flowing through the limbs. Doppler and ultrasound imaging, are noninvasive procedures that produce images of arteries using sound waves and measures blood flow to see if there are any blockages. A handheld device is placed on your body and passed back and forth over affected
areas. Treadmill test, which shows how your body reacts when exercising. You’ll walk on a treadmill and machines measure if there are any problems during normal walking. Blood tests, which are performed to look for signs of high-risk factors such as diabetes and high blood cholesterol.
Ways to Prevent PVD
If you’re a smoker, quit smoking. Smoking causes reduced blood flow in your vessels. It also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Be physically active, it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent vascular disease. Eat healthy with a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and high in fruits and vegetables.
For More Information on Peripheral Vascular Problems & Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with PAD or PVD, a heart condition, or have a history of vein or artery issues, or you’d like a screening, book an appointment at Boulevard Medical Healthcare. Our cardiologists are highly experienced and committed to finding, treating and preventing peripheral vascular problems.