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Peripheral Vascular Disease

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Peripheral Vascular Disease, often called PVD, affects over eight million people in the United States and over 200 million people worldwide. Described as a blood circulation disorder, Peripheral Vascular Disease generally causes the blood vessels outside the heart and brain to narrow, block or spasm. According to the CDC, twelve to twenty percent of Americans over 60 develop PVD. Because February is American Heart Month, our cardiologists at AMS Cardiology are sharing the signs and symptoms to watch out for regarding PVD. 

 

What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

PVD is the most common disease of the arteries. It is a slow and progressive circulation disorder affecting blood vessels outside the heart including the arteries, veins or lymphatic vessels and organs supplied by these vessels, including the brain. PVD is caused by a gradual build-up of fatty material inside these vessels and can affect the legs and feet because they do not receive enough blood flow for proper function. It can also affect the arms, stomach, intestines, and kidneys. 

 

The Different Types of Peripheral Vascular Disease

There are generally two types of PVD, known as functional and organic peripheral vascular disease. Functional PVD occurs when there is no physical damage to the structure of the blood vessels. Instead, the vessels spasm in response to factors like temperature change or signals from the brain. The widening and narrowing of the vessels cause blood flow to decrease. The most common causes of functional PVD include:

 

  • Stress
  • Cold temperatures 
  • Drugs
  • Operating machinery or tools that vibrate 

 

Organic PVD is the opposite; it is caused by structural changes in the blood vessels including inflammation, plaque and tissue damage. Common causes include:

 

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Diabetes 
  • Injury to the arms and legs
  • People with coronary artery disease 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Now that we understand what peripheral vascular disease is, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms to prevent it. Symptoms can range from: 

 

  • Pain in the legs and feet
  • Fatigue, especially during exercise
  • Cold feet
  • Thickened, opaque toenails 
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Gangrene 
  • Restricted mobility
  • Impotence 

 

If left untreated, narrowed arteries can lead to organ damage and loss of fingers, toes or limbs.

 

Who Is at Risk for Peripheral Vascular Disease?

There are several risk factors for peripheral vascular disease, including:

 

  • Over the age of 50
  • Male gender
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Overweight
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Family history of cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol or high blood pressure 

 

Various lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing PVD, such as:

 

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking 
  • Drug use  

 

Why Choose AMS Cardiology?

If you have been searching the area for a peripheral vascular disease treatment near me, look no further than AMS Cardiology. At AMS Cardiology, we can help you spot the signs and symptoms of peripheral vascular disease before it is too late. Our trained team of cardiologists may suggest a variety of procedures including, peripheral angiography, peripheral angioplasty, or stent implantation. Do not let your systems of PVD go untreated, instead contact the doctors at AMS Cardiology today to schedule an appointment. 

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