St. Joseph Health System
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Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Peripheral Vascular Disease is caused by the same atherosclerotic plaque that causes coronary artery disease. Some of the most commonly affected areas are the arteries in the legs, arms, kidneys and neck.

What are the symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease?
As the internal lining of the artery thickens from the atherosclerotic plaque, the blood vessel becomes increasingly constricted and blood flow diminishes. The symptoms you may experience will depend on what artery is affected and how severely the blood flow is reduced.

Some of the symptoms you may experience in the affected areas are:

  • Cramping pain in hips, thighs or calf muscles
  • Buttock pain
  • Numbness or tingling in leg, foot or toes
  • Changes in skin color (pale, bluish or reddish discoloration)
  • Changes in skin temperature, coolness
  • Impotence
  • Infection/sores that do not heal
  • Ulceration or gangrene
  • Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Renal failure

Risk Factors

Diabetes: PVD is not uncommon among those individuals with diabetes. The presence of diabetes can cause damage to the large and small blood vessels of the legs and feet.

Smoking: The risk of PVD dramatically increases in smokers. When a person stops smoking, his or her risk of Peripheral Vascular Disease rapidly declines.

Any of the following risk factors may also increase your chance of developing Peripheral Vascular Disease:

  • Obesity (being overweight)
  • High blood pressure
  • A family history of the disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Age greater than 65
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)

Treatments
There are many treatments available to help improve blood flow through the peripheral arteries. Surgery is not always required. Most procedures require no more than an overnight hospital stay, and most patients enjoy a speedy return to normal activities.


 
For a referral to a St. Joseph's cardiologist call 979.821.7589.

 

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