Treating Peripheral Vascular Disease


PVD (an abbreviation of Peripheral Vascular Disease) is an ailment pertaining to the blood vessels that are located outside the brain and heart. In PVD, arteries responsible for supplying blood to the arms, legs, and internal organs become blocked.

Signs and symptoms

Most people don’t experience symptoms; however, common symptoms include:

  • Intermittent claudication: this is leg and arm pain that occurs during exercise and goes away after a period of rest. The pain severity, as well as the location, varies. It is dependent on the extent of blockage and its location. 
  • Rest pain: this occurs when there is an insufficient oxygen and blood supply to the legs. It is usually severe and affects the feet.

Other symptoms are:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Feeling cold in the feet or legs
  • Feet changes color
  • Hair loss on the feet
  • Thickening of toenails
  • Wound in the feet or legs heal poorly
  • Painful gangrene and ulcers usually in the toes

Who is at risk for PVD?

Peripheral vascular disease affects about 10 million adults only in the US. Approximately 5% of the people that are more than 50 years old are a victim of this disease. People with the following factors are at a high risk of PVD:

  • High levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in the blood
  • Low levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension or a family tendency of high blood pressure 
  • Diabetes
  • History of atherosclerotic diseases in the family
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Chronic renal failure

Treatment options

Treatment for PVD includes changes in lifestyle, medications, surgery, angioplasty, and supervised exercises.

Changes in lifestyle: 

Ending an individual’s smoking habit eliminates a primary risk factor for the progression of the disease. It also lowers the need for amputation and occurrence of rest pain. Maintaining a healthy diet also helps to lower the level of blood cholesterol as well as lipid levels. Consequently, this helps to control the blood pressure. 

You also need to keep the other risk factors like blood pressure, diabetes, and lipid levels under control by closely following the guidelines set for you by the doctor. 


The right exercise conditions the muscles so that they use the oxygen effectively can help. As a result, the process of encouraging proper circulation is quickened. 


Changes in the lifestyle are sufficient for some people with PVD. However, others do require medication. Some medicines that are commonly used for PVD include anticlotting agents and antiplatelet agents. Moreover, drugs for lowering cholesterol and increasing the blood supply to the extremities are also used. 

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