Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common condition in up to 20 percent of Americans over the age of 65. PVD is caused by a buildup of cholesterol and scar tissue in the arteries that turns into plaque. This plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries." Plaque clogs the arteries and restricts blood flow to the legs.
Peripheral vascular disease symptoms include pain and cramping in the legs while walking or exercising, particularly the lower legs. Additional PVD symptoms include non-healing wounds. The following risk factors are most strongly associated with the development of PVD:
Smokers are five times more likely than nonsmokers to develop PVD, and have symptoms up to ten years sooner than nonsmokers with PVD. Smokers with diabetes are especially at risk for PVD complications, such as gangrene in the leg from restricted blood flow. Nicotine reduces blood flow by constricting blood vessels and making the heart work harder to pump blood. Carbon monoxide from cigarettes damages the lining of blood vessels and reduces blood oxygen.
2. High Blood Pressure
Hypertension increases the risk of PVD and other vascular disorders. Up to five percent of patients with hypertension have peripheral vascular disease symptoms. These symptoms worsen with age. At the same time, up to 55 percent of patients with PVD have hypertension. Patients with hypertension and PVD are at risk for heart attack and stroke.
Being overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and PVD. Losing just ten pounds can significantly reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol levels.
4. Chronic Illness
Chronic conditions like diabetes increase the risk of PVD. Up to one-third of diabetics over the age of 50 develop PVD. Other chronic illnesses that increase the risk of PVD are heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension and a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
Lack of exercise increases the risk of PVD. Exercise helps to keep blood pressure low and increases good cholesterol. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily has a positive effect on blood vessels and the heart. It also helps with weight management, helps to control diabetes and reduces stress.
6. Diabetes That Is Not Managed
Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of PVD. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the heart and the blood vessels.
7. High Cholesterol
Forty percent of those with PVD have high cholesterol. As cholesterol levels rise, so does the risk of PVD. Elevated triglycerides, inflammation, and a high plasma concentration of lipoprotein(a) also increase the risk of PVD.
How Minimally Invasive Image Guided Specialists (MIIGS) Can Help
MIIGS treatment is a noninvasive approach to healing that can prevent life-changing events like amputation. Peripheral vascular disease treatment by MIIGS physicians can open blocked blood vessels and restore normal blood flow using minimally invasive procedures. Although 90 percent of MIIGS patients are physician-referred, patients do not require a referral to receive PVD treatment. Call us at 318.445.9700, submit an online form or schedule an in-person consultation to learn how peripheral vascular disease treatment can help you. Most insurance plans cover PVD treatment when it's medically indicated.
MIIGS physicians are the only certified interventional radiologists in the Alexandria, LA area. Unlike other facilities, MIIGS patients can schedule same day or next day appointments. MIIGS peripheral vascular disease treatments are performed on an outpatient basis usually without general anesthesia. Because peripheral vascular disease treatments are minimally invasive, discomfort, pain and recovery time are significantly reduced.