Peripheral Vascular Disease: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, - Healthroid

Peripheral Vascular Disease: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on May 05, 2023

Peripheral vascular disease is a condition characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. It is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of plaque within the walls of arteries that restricts blood flow. Peripheral vascular disease can occur in any part of the body but typically affects the legs and feet.

Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include pain or discomfort in the legs or feet, especially during physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs. In severe cases, ulcers or gangrene may develop due to decreased blood flow to affected areas. Risk factors for developing peripheral vascular disease include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and age over 50.

Treatment for peripheral vascular disease may involve lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and increasing physical activity. Medications to control risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels may also be prescribed. In more severe cases, surgical procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery may be necessary to improve blood flow to affected areas.


There are two main types of peripheral vascular disease (PVD): functional and organic. Functional PVD is typically caused by a spasm in the blood vessels, which can cause temporary restriction of blood flow to the limbs. This type of PVD can be triggered by cold temperatures or emotional stress, and symptoms may include numbness, tingling, or pain in the affected area. Organic PVD, on the other hand, is caused by structural changes in the blood vessels themselves and tends to worsen over time. Common causes of organic PVD include atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) and arterial inflammation.

Another way to classify PVD is based on which part of the body it affects. For example, there is peripheral artery disease (PAD), which primarily affects the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. Other types of PVD may affect different parts of the body; for instance, Raynaud’s disease primarily affects the fingers and toes. It’s worth noting that some people may experience more than one type of PVD at once due to underlying health conditions or risk factors like smoking or diabetes. A proper diagnosis from a medical professional is key to determining an appropriate course of treatment for any type of PVD.


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that affects the circulation in the lower extremities. The condition occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of arteries, leading to narrowing and decreased blood flow. There are several known causes of PVD, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, age, and family history.

Smoking is a significant risk factor for developing PVD as it damages the lining of blood vessels and accelerates the buildup of plaque in arterial walls. High blood pressure also contributes to PVD by putting excessive strain on artery walls leading to damage and blockages over time. Similarly, high cholesterol levels can build up within artery walls leading to blockages that contribute to decreased circulation.

Diabetes increases one’s risk of developing peripheral vascular disease by causing damage to smaller blood vessels throughout the body. This damage leads to thickening and hardening of these vessels which can result in poor circulation especially if left untreated over time. Obesity also contributes significantly to PVD as people who are overweight or obese may have increased levels of inflammation within their bodies leading to arterial wall damage over time. Age is also one of the primary risk factors for PVD as the disease typically affects individuals over 50 years old. Finally, family history plays a role in determining one’s likelihood of developing peripheral vascular disease as genetics play a significant part in determining how our bodies process fats and sugars which can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases like PVD later on in life.


Peripheral vascular disease is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. The symptoms of this disease may vary depending on the severity, but common symptoms include pain, cramping, numbness, or tingling in the legs, feet, or toes. This type of pain is often described as a dull ache that occurs during physical activity and subsides when at rest.

In addition to leg pain, peripheral vascular disease can cause changes in skin color or temperature. The affected area may become pale, blue, or red and feel cold to the touch. Wounds or sores on the legs and feet may also heal slowly due to poor circulation. Furthermore, peripheral vascular disease can also cause decreased hair growth in the legs.

As peripheral vascular disease progresses, it can lead to more serious complications such as gangrene or even amputation. It is important to seek medical attention if experiencing any of these symptoms in order to receive proper diagnosis and treatment before irreversible damage occurs.


Diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is typically done through a combination of physical exams and imaging tests. The physical exam involves checking for signs and symptoms such as weak pulses, skin discoloration, or wounds that won’t heal. Imaging tests may include an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, which compares the blood pressure in the ankle to blood pressure in the arm, or a duplex ultrasound which allows visualization of the blood vessels and flow.

In some cases, additional testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. This can include magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), computed tomography angiography (CTA), or angiography – an invasive procedure where dye is injected into the bloodstream to visualize the vessels on X-ray.

Early diagnosis is crucial for PVD as it can help prevent further complications such as amputation or stroke. If you experience any symptoms associated with PVD, it’s important to see your doctor for evaluation and appropriate testing.


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It can lead to blocked or narrowed arteries, causing symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, and weakness. There are various treatment options available for PVD depending on its severity.

The first line of treatment includes lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, smoking cessation, and maintaining a healthy diet. Medications can also be prescribed to reduce symptoms and lower the risk of complications. These include antiplatelet drugs which help prevent blood clots from forming in narrowed arteries, cholesterol-lowering medications to control high cholesterol levels that contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, and blood pressure medications to control hypertension.

In more severe cases where the blockage is significant or life-threatening interventions like angioplasty or bypass surgery may be necessary. Angioplasty involves inserting a small balloon through an artery in the leg and then inflating it to widen narrowed areas; this procedure is often combined with stent placement which helps keep the artery open after angioplasty. Bypass surgery involves rerouting blood flow around a blocked area using a graft made from another part of your body or synthetic materials.

Peripheral Vascular Disease


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. The condition can result in reduced blood flow to the limbs, causing pain and discomfort. While PVD cannot be cured, there are ways to prevent its development or progression.

One of the most significant prevention methods for PVD is quitting smoking. Smoking increases the risk of developing PVD by damaging blood vessels and reducing blood flow. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can also help prevent PVD as it decreases cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity—all factors that contribute to PVD.

Another preventive measure for PVD includes managing other underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Monitoring these conditions regularly through regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help detect any changes in your overall health status before they progress into more severe problems like a peripheral vascular disease.


In conclusion, peripheral vascular disease is a serious condition that affects many people worldwide. It occurs when there is a blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs, arms, and other parts of the body. This can lead to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected areas.

To manage peripheral vascular disease, it is important to make lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and improving your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise can also help improve circulation in the affected areas. Additionally, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms or prevent further complications.

If left untreated, peripheral vascular disease can lead to more serious complications such as stroke or heart attack. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have this condition. Your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan that works for your specific needs and helps you maintain good overall health.

Published on May 5, 2023 and Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by: Mayank Pandey

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on May 05, 2023

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