Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a common blood circulation disorder. It affects the arteries or veins away from the heart and brain. These arteries or veins when PVD is present the blood vessels will narrow, become blocked, or spasm this causes the blood flow to decrease. It affects more than three million people each year. About 12-20% of everyone over the age of 60 will develop Peripheral Vascular Disease, affecting approximately 8.5 million people.
Peripheral Vascular Disease goes by other names such as arteriosclerosis obliterans, arterial insufficiency of the legs, claudication, or intermittent claudication. There are two main types functional or organic.
- Functional Peripheral Vascular Disease causes no physical damage to the blood vessels that are affected. The vessels widen, or narrow from brain signals or temperature changes. Emotional stress, cold temperatures, or drugs are usually things that lead to Functional PVD.
- Organic Peripheral Vascular Disease causes inflammation, plaque, or tissue damage to the blood vessels. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all things that can lead you to have Organic PVD.
You are more at risk of having Peripheral Vascular Disease if you are over fifty. Being overweight can also be a risk. If you have high cholesterol, cerebral vascular disease or a stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or a family history any of which will put you at more risk of developing PVD. Lifestyle choices that can cause PVD are no exercise, poor eating habits, smoking or drug use.
The most commonly affected areas are the legs or feet. Though you can develop it in your arms, stomach, intestines, or kidneys. PVD develops slowly and progresses over time with irregular symptoms. Symptoms can vary from person to person from mild to severe.
The symptom that is most commonly known for PVD is claudication. Claudication is when the lower limb muscles have pain when walking.
Other symptoms are painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calves, leg numbness, coldness in lower extremities, color change in legs or feet, hair loss or slow growing leg hair, sores that won’t heal on your feet or toes, slower toenail growth, shiny skin on your legs, no pulse or weak pulse in your legs or feet, erectile dysfunction in men, aches in arms or hands, and leg fatigue.
Undiagnosed or untreated can cause some complications. Making sure you get the right diagnosis can help avoid some of these complications. In severe cases complications can lead to heart attack, stroke or even death. Other complications are tissue death that leads to amputation, impotence, pale skin, pain resting or pain with movement, pain that restrict mobility, and wounds that won’t heal.
There are a number of ways your doctor will help diagnose Peripheral Vascular Disease. After a physical exam and taking a family history your doctor may want to run some tests. They may start with an Angiogram, which is an X-ray of the arteries and veins showing any blockages. Another test that checks the pulse in your ankle is an Ankle-Brachial index. Your doctor may want to also do doppler ultrasound to look at blood flow in the vessels, Magnetic resonance angiography will take a picture of the blood vessels to show any blockage, a treadmill exercise test, or photoplethysmography.
If caught early you should respond to lifestyle treatments. The main goal of treatment is to control symptoms, halt progression, and lower risks of complications. Usually lifestyle changes will help manage the Peripheral Vascular Disease and you won’t have to do any other form of treatment.
Lifestyle changes to make are exercise daily, have proper nutrition, and to quit smoking or taking drugs.
If these lifestyle changes don’t help your doctor may want to take blood thinners. Blood thinners will help stop blockages and allow the blood to flow better through the arteries and vessels.
Vascular surgery or an angioplasty are also treatment options. An angioplasty is when a catheter is threaded through your vessel and a balloon is expanded in the area near the blockage. Vascular surgery is when they use vein grafting to help blood bypass the narrow areas.
When caught and treated in time usually people with PVD find a way to manage their symptoms and halt progression. Most commonly affecting the legs and feet it can affect other areas. There are ways to help easily diagnose this disorder. It is extremely common with more than three million cases each year.
If you are in one of the categories of high risk you may want to make some lifestyle changes to help prevent you developing PVD at all. That can be to avoid smoking, eat healthy, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and exercise at least five days a week. Speak with your healthcare professional if you have any of these symptoms.
Cramping in the hips, thighs or calves can be a sign of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)! Don't wait, check out the other common symptoms for this disease! #HealthStatus
12%-20% of everyone over the age of 60 will develop Peripheral Vascular Disease
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