Peripheral Vascular Disease- Symptoms and Treatment
Peripheral Vascular Disease is a narrowing of blood vessels that restricts blood flow which is generally Occure in the legs and sometimes arms.Peripheral vascular disease is the medical name of the group of medical problems that causes poor circulation to the toes, feet and legs. Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and brain. When atherosclerosis is mild and the arteries are not substantially narrowed, atherosclerosis causes no symptoms. Peripheral vascular disease is a progressive disease that can lead to gangrene of the affected area. Veins carry oxygen-depleted blood and wastes through the kidneys, liver, and lungs, where wastes are filtered out and removed from the body. The venous blood is then again filled with oxygen in the lungs and returned back to the heart.
Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Visease
The main symptom is pain in the affected area. Early symptoms include an achy, tired sensation in the affected muscles. Since this disease is seen mainly in the legs, these sensations usually occur when walking. Thje other Symptoms are includes:
- It is usually a dull, cramping pain. It may also feel like a heaviness, tightness, or tiredness in the muscles of the legs.
- Numbness of the extremities
- Weakness and atrophy (diminished size and strength) of the calf muscle
- A feeling of coldness in the legs or feet
- Changes in color of the feet; feet turn pale when they are elevated, and turn dusky red in dependent position
- Hair loss over the dorsum of the feet and thickening of the toenails
- Painful ulcers and/or gangrene in tissue where there is critical ischemia; typically in the toes.
- Buttock pain
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs
- Burning or aching pain in the feet or toes while resting
- A sore on a leg or a foot that will not heal
- One or both legs or feet feel cold or change color (pale, bluish, dark reddish)
- Loss of hair on the legs
Causes of Peripheral Vascular Visease
There are many causes of peripheral vascular disease. One major risk factor is smoking cigarettes. Other diseases predispose patients to develop peripheral vascular disease. other Causes are :
- Peripheral artery disease is due to atherosclerosis. This is a gradual process in which a fatty material builds up inside the arteries.
- The fatty material mixes with calcium, scar tissues, and other substances and hardens slightly, forming plaques of arteriosclerosis.
- These plaques block, narrow, or weaken the vessel walls.
- Blood flow through the arteries can be restricted or blocked totally.
- Several autoimmune conditions can develop vasculitis , and, besides the arteries, other organ systems are also affected.
- The inflammation and scarring caused by infection can block, narrow, or weaken blood vessels
- Defects in the structure of a blood vessel can cause narrowing.
Treatment of Peripheral Vascular Visease
If the Peripheral Vascular Visease's patient is smoker, they should stop smoking immediately. Exercise is essential to treating this disease. The patient should walk until pain appears, rest until the pain disappears, and then resume walking. Generally, peripheral vascular disease is not an emergency.
- Controlling risk factors through lifestyle changes and medication
- Endovascular therapy or surgery to reopen arteries to the legs or arms
- Specialized care for patients with PVD who have open wounds or vascular ulcers that won't heal.
- Angioplasty (PTA or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty) can be done on solitary lesions in large arteries, such as the femoral artery.
- Occasionally, bypass grafting is needed to circumvent a seriously stenosed area of the arterial vasculature. Generally, the saphenous vein is used, although artificial (Gore-Tex) material is often used for large tracts when the veins are of lesser quality.
- Rarely, sympathectomy is used - removing the nerves that make arteries contract, effectively leading to vasodilatation.
- When gangrene of toes has set in, amputation is often a last resort to stop infected dying tissues from causing septicemia.