Signs and symptoms of peripheral vascular disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a type of arterial disease which causes blockage or narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels outside of the heart. It can especially manifest in the legs, where fatty deposits called plaque can build up in the veins, lymphatic vessels, and arteries.
The build-up of plaque causes the hardening of the arteries, narrowing them. This decreases the amount of blood that reaches the legs and can cause poor circulation, resulting in complications like blood clots, thrombosis, neuropathy, etc. Unhealthy habits and medical conditions can cause the plaque build-up that causes PVD.
The risk factors for PVD are increased by:
- Lack of exercise
- Family history
- Excessive alcohol
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Symptoms of PVD
PVD usually affects the extremities in the beginning, causing symptoms like:
- Reduced hair growth on legs
- Cramps when legs are immobile
- Pale skin on legs
- Reddish blue bruises
- Dry and thin skin on legs
- Wounds on feet that don’t heal
- Appearance of ulcers on feet
- Toe nails turn blue
- Burning under the feet
- Feet feel numb and heavy
- Pain in feet
- Cold feet
Importance of treating PVD immediately
If symptoms of PVD are not diagnosed and treated, it can cause severe or life-threatening complications. The affected body part, if untreated, will eventually lead to tissue death or gangrene and may have to be amputated.
Also Read: What Happens If Peripheral Vascular Disease Is Left Untreated?
Since PVD commonly occurs in older people, it may be ignored as a part of aging. But symptoms of PVD should not be ignored at any age. It is a disease that can be controlled with lifestyle changes, like weight management and stopping bad habits.
It is important that people who are at risk for PVD have a regular foot examination done. This can bring to light any symptoms indicative of PVD, and the podiatrist can offer advice on the best Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment to follow.