10 million people in the USA have peripheral vascular disease – also called peripheral arterial disease. It is more common in older people, affecting 20 percent of individuals over 70, but it can affect any age.
What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Peripheral vascular disease is a disorder in which the arteries become clogged with plaque. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, calcium and tissue. This fatty tissue hardens, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow and oxygen to the body. When arterial disease occurs outside the heart, it usually affects the limbs.
It can be caused by trauma, smoking, high blood pressure, having a diet high in ‘bad’ fats or being insulin resistant or diabetic.
PVD is a serious disease that can cause heart attack and stroke if left untreated.
Symptoms of PVD
Half of all people with PVD don’t have any noticeable symptoms. Those that do may experience pain in the arms or legs, cramping of the buttocks, calves, thighs and feet, a blue tint to the skin, lower temperature on the affected arm or leg, slow healing time and ulcers on the legs and feet that reoccur and take a long time to heal. Symptoms get worse with exercise, when more oxygen are nutrients are required by the body.
Venous peripheral vascular disease can be treated with lifestyle measures such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy, lower fat diet, exercising and losing weight. Medication can also help, but if these things alone don’t bring sufficient relief, surgery is an effective option to tackle severe symptoms. Balloon angioplasty or venous stent placement can restore blood flow to the affected limb.
To find out more about the innovative treatments that could benefit you, call for an initial appointment with a specialist.