About Vascular Diseases

Definitions and common questions

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder. It may involve disease in any of the blood vessels outside of the heart and diseases of the lymph vessels—the arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels located outside the heart and brain. Peripheral artery disease is also known as peripheral arterial disease, peripheral vascular disease or peripheral heart disease.

Peripheral artery disease symptoms include: Painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication) Leg numbness or weakness. Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side.

Vascular disease includes any condition that affects the circulatory system. As the heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels called the circulatory system. The vessels are elastic tubes that carry blood to every part of the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins return it.

A peripheral vascular examination is a medical examination to discover signs of pathology in the peripheral vascular system. It is performed as part of a physical examination, or when a patient presents with leg pain suggestive of a cardiovascular pathology.

As the legs and feet are most commonly affected, thus the name peripheral vascular disease. Conditions associated with PVD that affect the veins include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, and chronic venous insufficiency. Lymphedema is an example of PVD that affects the lymphatic vessels.

Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test checks blood flow by comparing blood pressure in the ankles and the arms. CW Doppler ultrasound can used to measure blood flow in the arteries. These tests can also help diagnose PAD. MedTech Edge can provide such systems to the clinicians. Browse on www.medtechedge.com for additional information.

If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue death (also called gangrene.) In very serious cases, this can lead to leg amputation. If you have PAD, your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack (“mini-stroke”) is much higher than in people without PAD.