If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease (PVD), you may have several questions and concerns. Let’s take a moment to address the most common questions that we encounter here at Stockton Cardiology.

What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral vascular disease is caused by plaque buildup in arteries that exist outside of the heart or brain, nearer to the extremities of the body. PVD is also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), atherosclerotic peripheral artery disease, hardening of the arteries, vascular disease, and poor circulation.

What Causes PVD?

As emedicinehealth points out in their article on PVD, “The most common cause of peripheral vascular disease is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a gradual process by which cholesterol plaques (material) builds up and causes inflammation in the inner walls of the arteries. This cholesterol plaque builds up over time and may block, narrow, or weaken the blood vessel walls, which results in restricted or blocked blood flow.”

PVD can be caused by a number of risk factors. You may be prone to develop PVD if you have high blood cholesterol, hypertension (or high blood pressure), diabetes, if you smoke, an inactive lifestyle, or if you have a poor diet. PVD may also develop due to age and stress.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of PVD?

If you suffer from PVD, you may experience pain in the extremities. Most instances of PVD result in leg pain. The legs and arms may also have reduced hair growth, they may cramp, and they may turn purple or pale. Your extremities may also have a weak pulse, and the muscles throughout your extremities may feel numb and heavy. In extreme cases, PVD can result in gangrene, wounds, infections, and ulcers.

Consult your doctor if you notice any signs of PVD, a doctor may be able to diagnose PVD using a variety of tests. A doppler ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography, computerized tomography angiography, dye angiography, or ankle-brachial index (ABI) test may be necessary to determine whether or not a person is affected by PVD.

You can learn more about PVD, its symptoms, diagnosing PVD, and more from this Healthline article.

What Can PVD Cause?

PVD can result in a number of complications, including impotence, pale skin, hair loss, pain, restricted mobility, wounds, infections, and tissue death. If you have PVD, you may also be at risk of suffering a heart attack, a stroke, or death. It’s important to treat PVD right away to mitigate or reduce the risk of complications which may be caused by PVD.

How Can I Treat PVD?

Consult a doctor to determine the best form of treatment for your unique situation. A doctor may recommend Covidien varicose vein ablation treatment (a PVD treatment we provide here at our cardiology clinic). PVD may also be treated with a bypass or angioplasty. Those affected by PVD may also benefit from lifestyle changes, including a change in diet and exercise.

Visit Stockton Cardiology

If you suffer from PVD, or any vascular diseases, we may be able to help. Visit your Stockton heart specialist—schedule an appointment today. We also have cardiology offices in Tracy, Manteca, and San Andreas.