Diagnosis – Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease is a circulatory condition caused by narrow or hardened arteries. This disease process usually affects adults 50 years of age and older. Lifestyle risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol levels. Men have a slightly higher incidence of PVD than women. Often this disease process goes undetec
- Signs And Symptoms
Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. The primary symptom is SYMPTOMS intermittent claudication, which is pain when walking that stops with rest. This pain can range from a cramping sensation in the legs to a feeling of extreme weakness. There may be mottling of the skin, decreased hair growth on the legs and feet and brittle toenails. People may also experience tingling, numbness or coldness in the extremities. The skin may appear shiny in the lower extremities. Severe symptoms might include pain at rest (this happens at night when the legs are in a non weight bearing position and gravity is not present to help circulate the blood flow to the feet), leg ulcers, infections and even gangrene due to lack of blood flow to the extremities. People suffering from PVD may experience a range of discomfort from mild pain to being virtually bedridden. Healing of these areas becomes very difficult and amputation may be the only option. People with diabetes have an increased risk of PVD.
Early detection of PVD is essential. Your doctor may recommend a visit to the non-invasive vascular lab as a first step. Treatment plans vary depending on the severity and progression of the disease. Options may include lifestyle modification, medication, balloon dilatation and/or surgery. Lifestyle modification may include maintaining an optimal body weight, eating low fat, low cholesterol foods, monitoring high blood pressure, participating in a planned activity program and stopping smoking.