What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral Vascular DiseaseBlood vessels play a crucial part in maintaining bodily function, and keeping you healthy.  The network of tubes carries blood to and from the heart, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and transporting carbon dioxide and waste products away from the cells. A disruption in this function can lead to health problems, like peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

What are the Causes of PVD?

The blood circulation disorder could result from atherosclerosis, or the buildup of cholesterol on the arterial walls, inflammation, embolism or vascular blockage, and blood clot formation.

Risk factors for this disease include a family history of premature heart attacks or strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, advancing age, and obesity. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking also increase your risk for the slow, progressive disease.

When the disease affects arteries outside your heart, it’s arterial peripheral disease. When it affects the veins, it’s venous peripheral disease. Some venous peripheral disorders are chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

What are the Symptoms?

About half of people who have peripheral vascular disease show no symptom. Common symptoms, however, include leg discomfort, calf claudication, and changes in the skin, which include decreased temperature and brittle, shiny skin on legs and feet. Wounds on pressure points that don’t heal, gangrene, and restricted mobility, among others, are also symptoms of the disease.

What is the Treatment?

There are two main goals of PVD treatment: stop the progression of the disease, and help manage the pain and other symptoms. The first line of treatment involves lifestyle modifications such as diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and weight loss. Other treatment options will include medication and therapy.

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PVD is a preventable disease. Practicing healthy living with good diet, exercising, reducing stress, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol could lessen the risk of not only PVD, but also stroke and heart disease. If you’re at risk, seek medical attention. Benefit from early detection and prompt treatment.