Peripheral Vascular Disease

By Virginia Mercier


Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is any disorder within blood vessels that are outside of the brain or heart. PVD is the build up of fatty materials within the blood vessels, which is also referred to as Peripheral Artery Disease or Atherosclerosis (one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases). It is usually most harmful in arms, legs, and near the kidneys. The disease is more common in people who suffer from diabetes or those who smoke. Blood clots, infection, diabetes, and smoking are typical causes of the disease.
What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease? | Heart Disease


As a result of PVD, people experience pain in the affected area, discoloration, cold feet, and even stroke or gangrene. If not properly treated, the specific area of the body that the PVD most affects will begin to die. Although all of these symptoms seem easy to detect, many people with PVD do not have specific symptoms to detect the disease.


Risks include those of most cardiovascular diseases:

- Family history of the disease

- Inacticity

- Being at an age older than 50

- High blood pressure or high cholesterol

- Smoking

- Diabetes

- Obesity


After a series of tests such as certain questionnaires or an ABI test, it is important to take care of the disease at home and with a doctor. Placing a stent or balloon in the blocked artery can allow the built up materials to be flushed out. Medications to prevent smoking and lower blood pressure or cholesterol are helpful for many people as well. In extreme cases, like when tissues begin to die, surgery is an option, but much less often performed today.


- Eat healthily

- Do not smoke

- Maintain healthy weight

- Exercise for 20-30 minutes regularly

- Control blood pressure and cholesterol

My Family and Peripheral Vascular Disease

My uncle has suffered from this disease for the last few years. Luckily for him, he had the symptoms listed above, like leg pain, cramping, and cold feet. He went to the doctor when the symptoms worsened and was told that his lack of proper exercise and higher blood pressure caused his PVD. Because he went to a doctor to get help, my uncle now exercises more frequently and takes medication to lower his blood pressure. I am thankful that my uncle has not suffered the worst of this disease and is able to live his every day life with less concern than others who have not discovered or ignored their PVD.

Works Cited

Bhimji, Shabir. "Peripheral Vascular Disease." WedMD. N.p., 06 June 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

"Peripheral Vascular Disease Pain." Reverse Heart Disease. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

"PVD." One Minute Health. N.p., 05 May 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.