The Grand Canyons

Peripheral Vascular Disease: Risk Factors, Causes, and Diagnosis

Posted In Inspired Living - By The Grand Canyons on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 With No Comments »

Venous legsDo you notice recent changes in the color, surface and temperature of your skin? Perhaps you feel decreased pulses in your legs and feet?

If you notice these clinical manifestations, it may be time to consult a vascular surgeon to determine the cause of your symptoms. You may be suffering from a venous peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a condition wherein blood vessels in your extremities become narrow or occluded.

What Increases my Risk of Developing Peripheral Venous Disease?

Several factors such as age, gender, nutritional status, and cholesterol level may increase your risk of developing PVD. Overweight male adults more than 50 years old with high cholesterol levels are more predisposed to developing PVD. Diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, and previous history of cardiovascular disease are also strongly correlated with venous damage resulting to PVD.

What Causes Peripheral Venous Disease?

Several factors may cause PVD. Atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty deposits in the vessels, is the most common cause of PVD. High cholesterol buildup over time leads to the formation of an obstruction, which blocks off the arteries that supply the tissues in the leg. The vessel diameter becomes narrower, which results in depletion of oxygen and nutrients that are crucial for muscle function.

How is Peripheral Venous Disease Diagnosed?

In most cases, clinical history and physical examination can clinch the diagnosis of PVD. Ankle-brachial index (ABI) is an important test which uses a sphygmomanometer to compare the systolic blood pressure of the arm and ankle. If a large discrepancy is present between the values, there is a high likelihood of PVD.

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However, further imaging is crucial to visualize the anatomical narrowing and obstruction in the affected vessel. An angiogram makes the arteries and veins more visible; hence, it becomes easier to detect vessel constriction.

The Bottom Line

Peripheral vascular disease has become an increasingly prevalent vascular condition worldwide. Hence, it is crucial to visit a specialist who can help you address the symptoms to prevent acute attacks of pain as well as recurrence in the future.