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Peripheral Vascular Disease

Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona -  - General Cardiology

Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona

General Cardiology & Vascular Medicine located in Phoenix, Goodyear, Chandler, & Maricopa, AZ

Peripheral vascular disease affects the circulation in areas like your limbs and can lead to serious problems like leg ulcers. If you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, the highly skilled team at Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona can help. At their locations in Phoenix, Maricopa, Goodyear, and Chandler, Arizona, you can benefit from convenient on-site diagnostics and minimally invasive treatments for peripheral vascular disease. Get prompt attention for your condition by calling the office nearest you or booking an appointment online today.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a name for conditions that involve your circulatory system outside of your heart or brain.

The term peripheral vascular disease is often used interchangeably with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). However, in strictest terms, PAD is an organic form of peripheral vascular disease that develops because of changes in the structure of your blood vessels.

The other type of peripheral vascular disease is functional PVD, where the normal widening and narrowing of the blood vessels becomes exaggerated. Raynaud's phenomenon is the primary kind of functional PVD.

What causes peripheral vascular disease?

Possible causes of peripheral vascular disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Arteritis
  • Vasculitis
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Injuries
  • Structural abnormalities in the blood vessels

The most likely root cause of organic peripheral vascular disease is atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of a residue called plaque consisting of cholesterol, calcium, and other minuscule pieces of debris in your blood. Plaque sticks to the linings of your blood vessels and gradually takes up an increasing amount of space, restricting blood flow.

The blood vessels also become harder, resulting in problems like coronary artery disease (CAD), kidney disease, and carotid artery disease, as well as PAD. Plaque can eventually cause a complete blockage that results in a heart attack or stroke.

What symptoms does peripheral vascular disease cause?

The symptoms you experience with peripheral vascular disease depend on the condition you have.

Peripheral arterial disease, for example, typically causes claudication – pain and heaviness in the legs when you're walking, while with Raynaud's disease, you have extremely cold hands and feet.

You might also have leg swelling and skin discoloration. Problems with blood flow in your legs and feet can lead to the development of wounds called ulcers.

These wounds may be a result of poor circulation in your arteries, producing open, nonhealing sores. These arterial ulcers may develop infection and gangrene (tissue death) that sometimes necessitates amputation.

How is peripheral vascular disease treated?

Medications may be of some help. For instance, cholesterol-lowering drugs can slow down plaque build-up if you have PAD, and blood pressure medication helps widen your blood vessels if you have Raynaud's.

If you have severely blocked arteries in your legs, the Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona team might perform percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or balloon angioplasty to make them wider.

This minimally invasive procedure flattens plaque against the artery walls using a balloon that your provider inflates inside the blood vessels. They're likely to perform peripheral vascular stenting at the same time, inserting a mesh tube that keeps the artery open.

To get fast and effective treatment for your peripheral vascular disease, call Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona or book an appointment online today.