The two most common vascular diseases that people are well aware of are varicose veins and spider veins. But another vascular disease that not many people are familiar with is peripheral vascular disease (PVD). At Venocure, the vein clinics in Dearborn and Brownstown, we treat troublesome vein conditions like varicose veins and spider veins, as well as heart disease and other vascular diseases. In today’s article, we hope to educate you on the signs and symptoms of another potentially harmful vascular disease, PVD. If you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a vascular disease, then contact the Dr. Nahhas or Dr. Chattahi at the vein clinics in Dearborn and Brownstown for a free consultation today!
What is Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)?
Peripheral vascular disease, also commonly known as peripheral artery disease, is a circulatory disease affecting the veins and arteries that are found outside of the brain and heart. Oftentimes, PVD is a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. The blood vessels become blocked by a plaque lining along the artery walls, restricting the blood flow.
Signs and Symptoms of PVD
When an individual develops PVD, his or her lower extremities don’t receive adequate blood flow they need to function properly. Common symptoms of PVD/PAD are:
- Painful cramping in hip, thigh, or calf muscles after walking and other daily physical activities
- Leg numbness/weakness
- Cold sensation in the lower leg
- Sores on toes, feet, and legs that never seem to heal
- Discoloration in legs
- Loss of hair or slow hair growth on feet and legs
- Slow growth of toenails
- A weak or nonexistent pulse in legs and feet
Peripheral vascular disease is a serious condition and if it is left untreated, symptoms will continue and worsen over time. The pain and discomfort will intensify, even while sitting down to rest and while you’re sleeping. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s critical you contact your doctor right away.
What Are Risk Factors of Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Peripheral vascular disease comes with a fair amount of factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing the disease. Those risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Age (50+ years old)
- Family history of PVD, heart disease, or stroke
- High levels of homocysteine.
Diabetics and smokers have the greatest risk of developing PVD because of their reduced blood flow.
Peripheral Vascular Disease/Peripheral Artery Disease Prevention
Now that you’ve learned what the symptoms and risk factors of peripheral vascular disease, you might wonder how can you prevent the disease. The good news is that PVD/PAD is preventable, but you must be willing to put your work in. Preventing PVD means:
- Quit smoking. Not a smoker? Don’t start!
- If you are diabetic, keep your blood sugar in good control at all times.
- Exercise regularly. Thirty-minute workouts, several days a week is a healthy routine to get into.
- Eat foods that are low in saturated fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
How Can I Get Tested for Peripheral Vascular Disease?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it takes more than a doctor to classify and officially diagnose the condition as PVD. Fortunately, there are several diagnostic tests that can be performed to confirm PVD and PAD. These tests include:
- Checking the patient’s pulse and blood pressure in different areas of the body
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI) checks blood flow by comparing blood pressure in the ankles and arms
- An ultrasound could be used to confirm PVD, because it is used to measure blood flow in the arteries
- CT scan or magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)
Peripheral vascular disease is a common disease that many people over the age of 50 live with everyday. If you are suffering from a cramping or squeezing pain or discomfort in your lower extremities including, your calf, thigh, hips, or buttocks, it could be a probable sign of PVD. Don’t take the risk in hopes that it goes away on its own—get tested at a vein clinic like Venocure in Dearborn or Brownstown. Visit our site to learn more and contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nahhas and Dr. Chattahi today!