Common Signs of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to any disease that affects the vascular system, which is composed of the arteries and veins that carry blood throughout the body, including lymph vessels. PVD affects peripheral blood vessels, which means it affects blood vessels other than the heart.

The most common form of PVD is peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when blood flow from your heart to your legs is impaired by narrow or blocked arteries. This blockage is usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is plaque buildup in your arteries. Plaque is composed of deposits of fats, cholesterol, and other substances. 

PVD can affect any blood vessel outside the heart, but it mostly affects arteries in the legs. At Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center, our team of vascular specialists has the experience to diagnose and treat PVD/PAD.

Risk factors for PVD

Having atherosclerosis is the leading risk factor for developing PVD. The other significant risk factor is smoking. While these are two main risk factors you can change if you quit smoking or adopt a healthier lifestyle, there are other factors you can’t change. 

Men, postmenopausal women, African Americans, and Hispanics have a higher chance of developing PVD. Additional risk factors include being older than 50, obesity, and health conditions such as: 

On the flip side, having PVD can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.   

Signs and symptoms of PVD

The first tipoff that you may have PVD is experiencing calf pain when walking, climbing stairs, or doing other physical activity that gets better when you rest. Others with PVD experience pain or soreness in their hips, buttocks, or thighs. As PVD progresses, so does the pain.

But about 40% of those with PVD don’t experience leg pain. Other symptoms that indicate blood is not flowing adequately to your legs or other extremities include: 

See your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms to get a diagnosis. If left untreated, PVD can lead to impaired mobility and eventually amputation.

If you’re experiencing any of the PVD symptoms mentioned above or think you have PVD, make an appointment at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center for a diagnosis and treatment plan. You can also request an appointment online through this website. We have offices in Port Jefferson Station, Hauppauge, and Riverhead, New York.

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