Are your legs or feet experiencing hair loss, a feeling of weakness, changed skin color, sores or coldness?

When the arteries and veins that lead to the lower extremities become narrowed, a condition called Peripheral Vascular Disease results. The passage way for blood circulation becomes smaller, and the flow in the arms and legs is reduced. PVD and Peripheral Arterial Disease are often discussed interchangeably.

Around half of those with PVD do not have any indicators of this disease, but others experience discomfort when they walk. This may feel like cramping or pain in the muscle, and can fall anywhere on the pain scale. The calf is a common place where people experience these sensations, but the location depends on where the narrowing has occurred. When resting, the pain disappears, because muscles at rest require less blood. Other common symptoms include:

  • Pain, weakness or cramping
  • Sores, wounds or ulcers that are not quick to heal
  • Decreased hair growth on lower limbs
  • Change in color, blue or pale, and in temperature (coolness) when compared to the other limb.

Left undiagnosed, the pain from this circulatory condition can increase to the point that it occurs all of the time. While this condition does not directly affect the brain and the heart, it is often a sign that atherosclerosis could be decreasing the flow of blood to these areas as well. These obstructions can lead to complete blockages.

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) refers to an obstruction of the large arteries. These are not the coronary arteries and often refer to the arteries of the lower extremities.

What are the causes and complications of Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Certain habits such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle can cause this condition. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease are also at an increased risk. Those over age 50, men, and women who are past menopause may be more affected.

Smoking and diabetes are the most significant issues, because these things by themselves also decrease blood flow. Combined with PVD, the impact on circulation is cumulative and great.

People with PVD are three times more likely to suffer stroke. Heart attack and amputation are two other complications that can result. It is important to watch for the symptoms of this condition, and see your doctor immediately if you note changes and/or pain in your feet and legs. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can be life threatening.

Does your family have a history of poor blood circulation?

If your parents suffered from high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, or had PVD themselves, you are at a higher risk for developing this condition of the circulatory system. If you are experiencing symptoms of poor blood circulation, contact our office and schedule an appointment before your condition progresses!

What can the doctor do for me?

The first goal of your doctor will be to stop the progression of this illness. Managing symptoms is another top goal. Diagnosis of this condition can include several tests ranging from blood work to imaging tools such x-ray and ultrasound. He may perform a vascular test so he will know how best to treat you.

Your physician will suggest lifestyle changes that will have a positive impact. Other methods of treatment include blood thinning medications, vascular surgery or angioplasty, and treatment of other ailments that impact PVD.

The most effective way to battle this condition of the circulatory system is by prevention. Exercise, eat right, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, and stay on top of other health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

The doctor will talk to you and do a thorough history and exam. He will provide tools to help you to get healthier.The best thing you can to for yourself is to make an appointment to see how he can help you!

Visit Dr. Lawrence Kales today to assess your foot and ankle health. Conveniently located in Hudson, FL and Spring Hill, FL, an appointment is just a click or phone call away. You can contact Bayonet Point Foot Health Center at (727)868-2128 or our Spring Hill Podiatry Center at (352)683-5799.