Diagnosing Peripheral Vascular Disease

Understanding and Treating Peripheral Vascular Disease

Jan 8, 2024Peripheral Vascular Disease, Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a circulatory condition where narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs, effectively causing symptoms like leg pain when walking (claudication), numbness, and even tissue damage.

There are several treatment options available for one in 20 Americans over the age of 50 who suffer from peripheral vascular disease. PVD affects 18 million US citizens nationwide. Hundreds of thousands go untreated and sadly have amputations that could have been prevented.

It isn’t limited to the legs; it can also impact the arteries carrying blood away from the heart. This article explores the treatment modalities for PVD aimed at managing symptoms and halting the progression of atherosclerosis, the primary cause of the disease.

What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), also referred to as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), is a circulatory condition where narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. This occurs due to the narrowing of peripheral blood vessels, situated away from the heart and brain, typically caused by arteriosclerosis or plaque buildup. The disorder can affect arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels, with the legs and feet most commonly affected.

When PVD affects your body, organs that rely on these blood vessels, such as the legs and feet, may not receive sufficient blood flow for proper function. This can lead to symptoms such as leg pain when walking (claudication), numbness, and tissue damage. In advanced cases, the diminished blood flow in the arms or legs may fail to meet the body’s demand, exacerbating the symptoms and complications.

By understanding the impacts of Peripheral Vascular Disease on the body, you can better manage the symptoms and seek appropriate medical help if needed.

The Problem Of PVD

The problem of PVD is more threatening in ailing and aging patients. In most cases, people are unaware of the problem as the symptoms only start to surface late. The problem can become more severe among those people who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, smoking, or high blood pressure. 

An artery blockage can occur in any body part, affecting the leg, heart, uterus, or any other part of the body. The problem is peripheral vascular disease usually hits the leg area. When the leg doesn’t receive enough blood flow, it causes pain in the leg, known as claudication. It may also cause deep vein thrombosis.

Earlier, there was no treatment for curing or reversing the damage done by the PAD, and lifestyle changes were considered the only way to reverse or reduce the severity of the problem. But now there are cures and treatments, and patients should follow the treatment along with lifestyle changes for a better outcome.  Find a professional and trusted Houston peripheral arterial disease doctor for the treatment. Methods like atherectomy or sclerotherapy are used in peripheral vascular disease treatment.

Don’t let the PAD make your life miserable. Follow an active and healthy life along with the suggested treatment.

Risk Factors for PAD

PAD patients are at high risk for developing critical limb ischemia (CLI). This is a chronic condition that can result in severe pain even while resting. Complications of poor circulation include sores and wounds that won’t heal in the legs or feet. Also, toenail disease is caused by a lack of blood flow. Additionally, clots can form. If left untreated, they could lead to losing part, if not all, of your limbs.

Some factors that put you more susceptible than others:

  • high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • family history
  • Age 60 and above

Common Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease

Blockages can restrict blood flow to the muscles, causing muscle cramps, tightness, or weakness, especially during activity. In the early stages of PAD, patients may not experience any symptoms. If PAD is not treated, though, blockages may continue to grow and restrict or even wholly block blood flow.  Symptoms may include:

Non-Surgical Medical Treatment

The first line of treating PVD often involves lifestyle changes and medications. Here are some commonly recommended strategies:

Fundamental lifestyle changes that can help manage PVD include:

  • Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise can help increase the distance you can walk without pain. Consult your doctor about the best exercise program for your situation.
  • Smoking Cessation: Smoking can significantly increase PVD complications. If you’re a smoker, quitting will significantly improve your health.
  • Healthy Diet: A heart-healthy diet, low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, can help control blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, thus improving vascular health.
  • Medications: Doctors might prescribe certain medications to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, control pain, and manage accompanying symptoms.

Interventional Procedures To Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease

Source: researchgate.net

When lifestyle changes and medication are insufficient, doctors may recommend minimally invasive procedures. These include:

Angioplasty and Stenting: This procedure involves inflating a small balloon in the narrowed artery using a catheter. A stent may be placed once the artery is open to keep it propped open.

Atherectomy: This minimally invasive procedure uses a catheter to remove plaque from a blood vessel.

Surgical Treatments

For advanced cases of PVD, surgical methods may be necessary:

Bypass Surgery: This involves grafting a blood vessel from another part of your body or using a synthetic vessel to create a bypass around the blocked section of the artery.

Thrombolytic Therapy: In acute situations, like when there’s a sudden clot in the arm or leg, medication may be used to dissolve it quickly.

Participation in a Supervised Exercise Program

Clinically supervised exercise programs can be an excellent way to manage PVD. It helps increase walking distance and living quality by conditioning the muscles to use oxygen more efficiently.

Regular Follow-Up Appointments

Patients with PVD must regularly follow up with their doctors to monitor their conditions. PVD is a chronic condition that requires continuous medical care with regular check-ins for physical examinations, ongoing risk factor management, and consistent observation of symptoms.

Living with PVD

Living with peripheral vascular disease can often require a commitment to lifestyle adjustments, regular medical check-ups, and possibly ongoing treatment. Yet, many with PVD can lead active and enjoyable lives. Working closely with your healthcare team can significantly improve your quality of life.

With these treatment options, health professionals’ central aim is to mitigate symptoms, improve functionality and quality of life, and prevent further progression of the disease. Discuss with your doctor about the treatment option that suits you best, considering your overall health, age, severity of PVD, and lifestyle.

Coastal Vascular Center: Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease

Experiencing symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), such as claudication (leg pain when walking), numbness, or tissue damage, can be a daunting prospect. Understanding and treating the disease effectively is paramount for your continued health and quality of life. This is where Coastal Vascular Center steps in as your comprehensive care solution.

Why Choose Coastal Vascular Center?

If you’re going through symptoms of PVD, calling Coastal Vascular Center should be your first step towards improved health. Here’s why:

Experienced Professionals

Your health is in the hands of dedicated experts at the Coastal Vascular Center who have significant experience diagnosing and treating circulation conditions like PVD. Dr. Ayar has dedicated over 20 years to diagnosing and treating peripheral vascular disease. His expertise includes using several diagnostic techniques to confirm the disease and prescribing and managing an individualized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Emphasis on Patient Education

At Coastal Vascular Center, we believe an informed patient is empowered. Our professionals take the time to talk with you about your symptoms and the PVD disease process and provide information on how to best manage the condition, adapt your lifestyle, and improve your health.

Progressive Treatment Modalities

Coastal Vascular Center stays at the forefront of medical innovation. We offer the latest treatments and surgical procedures, including minimally invasive treatments like angioplasty, stenting, and atherectomy, ensuring our patients’ highest degree of care.

Personalized Care Approach

Coastal Vascular Center prides itself on offering a personalized approach to your care. We understand that every patient is unique, requiring customized strategies to manage their PVD. Therefore, we work closely with you to create the most effective treatment plan for your needs.

Comprehensive Long-Term Support

We treat patient care not as a one-time event but as a long-term commitment. Our team accompanies you in maintaining your vascular health in the long run, including regular check-ups, adjustments in treatment strategies, and continuous medical support.

When managing Peripheral Vascular Disease, choosing the right healthcare partner can make a difference. At Coastal Vascular Center, we are committed to your care, dedicated to offering the highest level of expertise, and passionate about helping you navigate your journey to better health. Don’t let PVD control your life – contact Coastal Vascular Center today to set a new course for your health.

Education and Prevention

Coastal Vascular Center encourages members of the vascular care community, including physicians, clinicians, and patient advocates, to use the tools below to spread the word about PAD Awareness.   Together, we can increase understanding of vascular disease to improve the health of many Americans.

Health-related information on CoastalVascular.net is for educational purposes only and, therefore not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.