What is it?

PVD is a blockage of the vessels that supply your body with blood flow. Your vessels consist of arteries (supply blood to organs from the heart) and veins (return blood to heart from the rest of your body). These vessels are blocked by atherosclerotic plaques and can cause decreased blood flow. This can lead to lack of blood flow to essential organs and even be life threatening. This disease will be diagnosed using ultrasound to assess blood flow in the essential vessels. Patients with coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension and smokers are at increased risk and must be monitored closely.  

How do you treat it?

Depending on severity and location of PVD there are several options. Initial treatment consists of lifestyle modifications such as healthy eating, smoking cessation and supervised exercise. Medications such as blood thinners (anti-platelet medications and even anticoagulants) may also play a large role in conjunction with statins (to lower cholesterol). If the blockage is very severe, angioplasty or intravascular stents are performed to improve blood flow.

QUICK LINKS

www.medicinenet.com/peripheral_vascular_disease/page9.htm – About PVD
www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300323.pdf – AHA website about PVD