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Are you at risk for Peripheral Artery Disease (PVD)?

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What is PVD?

Peripheral vascular disease (also known as peripheral artery disease) refers to diseases of the blood vessels located outside the heart or brain. Doctors refer this to the arteries because this a condition that develops when the arteries have accumulated excessive plaque buildup that causes them to become completely or partially blocked. This effects the legs, internal organs, and arms.

This disease effects over 10 million adults in the United States. Diseases that effect the arteries are extremely important to monitor because the blockage of blood that is necessary to get to your heart and brain are crucial for a long life span. These diseases can lead to heart attack and stroke, which is something that should be taken very seriously.

Signs & Symptoms

Most individuals with peripheral artery disease do not show any symptoms and rarely are aware that they have it without a doctors examination. For those patients that experience symptoms, the most common symptoms are intermittent claudication and rest pain in the legs. Some other signs and symptoms of PVD include:

  • numbness of legs/feet
  • feeling of coldness in legs/feet
  • changes in the color of feet
  • hair loss on the top of the feet
  • thickening of the toenails
  • painful ulcers in areas of the feet where blood supply is lost: toes

Treatment

Individuals who are at risk for PVD are usually over the age of 50. Peripheral artery disease is more common in men than it is in women. The known risk factors are those that predispose to the development of atherosclerosis. To know if you are at risk for PVD, here are some risk factors to consider:

  • High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
  • smoking cigarettes
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity

Some basic treatments for this disease include changes in lifestyle measures, supervised exercise, medications, and sometimes even surgery. It is highly recommended to keep a healthy diet, while implementing better day-to-day routines. Your food intake is such a major aspect of staying healthy and preventing these diseases.

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