Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
What is Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)?
PVD is a reduction in blood flow caused by narrowing of the wall of your arteries. This is caused by atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of your arteries. This condition occurs most often in the legs. PVD affects 10 million people in the US including 15% of those over the age of 65. More than 20% of the population over age 75 has PVD. It occurs in both men and women.
What are the Symptoms of PVD?
- When you walk you get muscle discomfort, cramping, fatigue”heaviness or pail1 in Thighs, calves, or hips occur. These symptoms almost always resolve with rest.
- Ulcers or sores on your legs or feet that are slow to heal
- About a third of people who have PVD have no symptoms
What Are the At Risk Factors for PVD?
- Increasing Age
- History of Coronary Heart Disease or Stroke
- Patients with Hypertension
- Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease
- Patients with Hyperlipidemia
- Family History (such as parent, sister or brother) of PVD, cardiovascular disease or stroke
How is PVD Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of PVD begins with a medical history and physical exam. A simple blood pressure test called AB! can be ordered to diagnose PVD. AB! (ankle-brachiarindex) measures the blood pressure in your arms and legs. More sophisticated exams such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiogram, CT angiogram or catheter based angiogram can also determine how narrow the artery is
PVD is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and death. If you are diagnosed with PVD it is important that you get evaluated for Coronary Heart Disease.
What are the Complications of PVD?
Over time a healthy artery can become so narrow or blocked the blood and oxygen to the tissue is decreased. Tissue death can occur resulting in infection or gangrene to parts of the extremity. This can lead to amputation.
How is PVD Treated?
- Lifestyle modification (stoop smoking, optimal diabetic and blood pressure control, Exercise and diet) can help modify the progression of PVD
- Medications such as vasodilators
- Angioplasty and stents to reopen the artery
- Vascular Bypass Surgery