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Peripheral Vascular Disease (cont.)

What are the types of peripheral vascular disease?

There are two types of peripheral vascular disease (PVD):

  1. Functional PVD: This type of PVD does not involve defects in the blood vessel structure, as the vessels are not damaged and the blood vessels are affected by external factors such as stress, temperature, or drugs. The diseases of this type often have symptoms that come and go.
  2. Organic PVD: This type of PVD is caused by structural changes to the blood vessels, such as inflammation or tissue damage, including:

When to seek medical care for peripheral vascular disease?

When you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease in a leg or a foot (or in an arm or a hand), see your health-care professional for an evaluation.

Generally, peripheral vascular disease is not an emergency. On the other hand, it should not be ignored.

  • Medical evaluation of your symptoms and effective treatment, if indicated, may prevent further damage to your heart and blood vessels.
  • It may prevent more drastic events such as a heart attack or stroke or loss of toes and feet.

If you have symptoms of peripheral venous disease along with any of the following, go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

  • Pain in the chest, upper back, neck, jaw, or shoulder
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, difficulty walking, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Do not try to "wait it out" at home. Do not try to drive yourself. Call 911 right away for emergency medical transport.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017
Medical Author:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Peripheral Vascular Disease »

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a nearly pandemic condition that has the potential to cause loss of limb or even loss of life.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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