What is PVD?

Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), sometimes called peripheral arterial disease, is a slow and progressive circulation disorder.  It occurs when there is a narrowing, blockage, or spasm in blood vessels.  PVD usually affects the arteries in the legs, but it also can affect the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Organs supplied by these vessels, such as the brain, and legs, may not get enough blood flow for proper function when PVD is present. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected.

Symptoms of PVD 
Patients who develop PVD usually notice hip, leg or calf pain (called "claudication") when walking, but sometimes they do not experience any symptoms at all. When there is pain, it is because the affected area/s are deprived of blood flow. Symptoms of PVD include:
• Cramping
• Coldness                  
• Discoloration
• Numbness
• Decrease in muscle mass 
• Non-healing ulcers 

Causes of PVD 
The most common cause of PVD is atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque inside the artery wall, also called hardening of the arteries.  Plaque decreases the oxygen and nutrients available to tissue. Blood clots may form on the artery walls, further decreasing the inner size of the blood vessel and block off major arteries. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, reducing the amount of blood that can flow through them and limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to organs and other parts of your body of a PVD patient.

What is Plaque? 
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood.

Risk Factors for PVD
Approximately 8 million people in the United States have PVD. 

Risk factors include: 
•    Age – Twelve to 20 percent of those who suffer are 50 years and older.
•    Being male 
•    Being overweight
•    Being postmenopausal
•    Diabetes 
•    Family history of PVD
•    High cholesterol
•    High blood pressure
•    Physical inactivity
•    Smoking or using tobacco products 


 

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