However, peripheral vascular disease is not limited to the legs. The condition may also affect blood vessels tasked with supplying oxygen to various parts of the body. These include blood vessels to the intestines, stomach, kidneys, and arms.
Patients suffering from peripheral vascular disease experience narrowing blood vessels, consequently decreasing blood flow to certain parts of the body, particularly in the lower extremities. This can be caused by the hardening of arteries, also known as arteriosclerosis. In some cases, PVD can also be caused by blood vessel spasms.
In the case of arteriosclerosis, plaques accumulate in the blood vessel and reduce the flow of oxygenated blood to the limbs and other organs. When not managed in good time, the plaque buildup continues and may lead to blood clots, which could block the arteries completely. Consequently, this blockage may lead to organ damage and the loss of toes, fingers, and limbs. This highlights the importance of getting treatment for the vascular disease as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more adverse the effects may be.
Vascular disease is sometimes referred to as a peripheral arterial disease, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, the key difference between peripheral vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease is that the latter only affects arteries –that carry oxygen-rich blood to various organs from the heart.
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that about 20% of people develop the peripheral arterial disease. PAD is the most common condition of PVD. However, other terms used to define the condition include:
- Arterial insufficiency of the legs
- Intermittent claudication
- Arteriosclerosis obliterans
- Non-healing Ulcers