Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a circulatory disorder affecting blood vessels outside the heart and brain. Also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD) this condition primarily impacts the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet, although it can affect other areas of the body. Below, our cardiologists will describe what this disease is, its causes, symptoms and the various treatment options available throughout our locations in Abington and Montgomery County, PA.

What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

PVD is characterized by the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This constriction of arteries usually caused by a buildup of cholesterol reduces the blood flow to the affected areas typically the legs and feet. 

What Causes Peripheral Vascular Disease?

The primary cause of PVD is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a process in which fatty deposits, cholesterol and other substances build up on the inner walls of the arteries, forming plaque that can block blood flow. Factors that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and a family history of PVD. Additionally, age and gender can play a role, with older individuals and men being at higher risk.

Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Identifying the symptoms of PVD is crucial for a prompt diagnosis and treatment. common symptoms of PVD include: 

  • Leg Pain – Pain, cramping, or fatigue in the legs and feet is a common early sign of PVD. This discomfort, known as claudication, usually subsides with rest. 
  • Numbness and Weakness – Reduced blood flow to the legs and feet can cause numbness and weakness in the lower extremities.
  • Coldness and Discoloration – Reduced circulation can cause the legs and feet to feel cold and appear discolored either pale or bluish.
  • Non-Healing Sores – In severe cases, wounds or sores on the legs or feet may not heal properly due to the reduced blood flow.

How Do You Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Are you wondering what is the best treatment for peripheral vascular disease? The answer involves lifestyle changes, medications and in some cases surgical interventions. Below, we highlight how we treat PVD at AMS Cardiology: 

Peripheral Angiography

Patients with decreased blood flow in their legs or arms may require peripheral angiography. This procedure involves threading a small plastic tube (catheter) into the affected limb through an artery at the top of the leg. Dye is then injected through the catheter, which opacifies the blood vessels and demonstrates any blockages that may be present. If indicated, the blockage can be opened by a balloon (angioplasty) and a small metal device inserted (stent) to keep the vessel open.

Peripheral Angioplasty/Stent Implantation

This procedure (usually performed during a diagnostic peripheral angiography) involves passing a balloon into a region of blockage in a blocked artery. The balloon is then expanded, and the blockage is opened. To keep the blockage from re-forming, a small metal device (stent) is frequently implanted.

Treatment for Peripheral Vascular Disease at AMS Cardiology

Understanding PVD and its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options is essential for early detection and management. Stop wondering what is peripheral vascular disease and how I can treat it, and come see us at AMS Cardiology. We have three convenient locations throughout Montgomery County to best serve you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Doctors Who Practice Peripheral Vascular Disease

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