Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
Facts and definition of peripheral vascular disease?
- Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a
circulation disorder that causes narrowing of blood vessels to parts of the body
other than the brain and heart.
- Causes of peripheral vascular disease
include peripheral artery disease due to atherosclerosis, blood clots, diabetes,
inflammation of the arteries, infection, injury, and structural defects of the
- Risk factors for peripheral vascular
disease include family history of premature heart attacks or strokes, age over
50 years, being overweight or obese, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, diabetes,
high blood pressure, and high blood LDL cholesterol (the "bad cholesterol"),
high blood triglycerides and low blood HDL (the "good cholesterol").
- Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease
in the legs are dull, cramping pain in one or both calves, thighs, or hips when
walking, called intermittent claudication.
- Other symptoms of peripheral vascular
- buttock pain,
- numbness or tingling in the legs,
burning or aching pain in the feet or toes while resting,
- a sore on a leg or a
foot that will not heal,
- one or both legs or feet feel cold or change color
(pale, bluish, dark reddish),
- hair loss on the legs, and
- Tests to diagnose peripheral vascular
disease include the ankle/brachial index (ABI), the treadmill exercise test,
angiography (a type of X-ray), ultrasonography, MRI (magnetic resonance
- Treatment for peripheral vascular
disease includes angioplasty, which is a technique for enlarging an artery that
is blocked or narrowed without surgery. Stenting may be performed for arteries
that are very severely blocked locally or begin to close up again after
angioplasty. A procedure called atherectomy is removal of an atherosclerotic
- Types of medications commonly used to
treat peripheral vascular disease include antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants,
and "clot-busters" (thrombolytics). Drugs approved to help treat intermittent
claudication include pentoxifylline (Trental) and cilostazol (Pletal).
- Lifestyle changes to treat or prevent
peripheral vascular disease include quitting smoking, getting regular exercise,
eating a low-fat and healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling
high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and if you have diabetes, keeping
blood sugar optimal.
- Complications of untreated peripheral
vascular disease include permanent numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs or
feet, permanent burning or aching pain in the legs or feet, gangrene (tissue
death caused by lack of blood flow which may require amputation to treat it),
and a higher-than-normal risk or heart attack and stroke.
- Other names for peripheral vascular
- Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease
- Hardening of the arteries
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Poor circulation
- Vascular disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2016
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