Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. Specifically, PVD occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the limbs and organs.
The most common form of PVD is atherosclerosis, which occurs when cholesterol and other fatty substances build up in the arteries and form plaque. Over time, this plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow and causing symptoms such as pain, cramping, and weakness in the affected limb(s).
Risk factors for PVD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of the condition. Treatment for PVD typically includes lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, improving diet and exercise habits, and managing underlying health conditions. Medications and, in some cases, surgery may also be used to improve blood flow and manage symptoms.
Some common treatment options include:
Lifestyle Changes: Making changes to your lifestyle can help manage the symptoms of PVD and improve blood flow. These may include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing underlying conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Medications: There are various medications that can be used to treat PVD, including antiplatelet agents, blood thinners, and medications that help to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Angioplasty: Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of a catheter into the affected artery to remove the plaque buildup and restore blood flow.
Stenting: Stenting involves the placement of a small, mesh-like tube in the affected artery to help keep it open and improve blood flow.