What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
About 1.8 million Americans are living with amputations. Amputation of the leg -- either above or below the knee -- is the most common amputation surgery. Peripheral Vascular disease is the leading cause of amputations .Vascular disease is on the rise. According to the CDC, an estimated 8.5 million people in the U.S. have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)—a type of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD). And studies show that over a quarter billion people globally have the disease, with cases increasing by 24% between 2000 and 2010.
PVD can refers to any blockage or narrowing of the peripheral blood vessels—meaning an artery or vein outside of the heart or brain. PAD more specifically refers to the arteries—blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the organs. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably. PVD is most common in the legs, but can happen in any peripheral blood vessel.
Although many people diagnosed with PVD have no symptoms, the decreased blood flow can result in pain in the legs or hips after walking, wounds that won’t heal, a decrease in temperature compared to the rest of your body, or even gangrene and amputation. PVD has also been found to greatly increase a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke.
The rise in PVD is due to increased life expectancy and lifestyle changes. The key risk factors of PVD are the same as many of the other cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and stroke. Some of the risk factors within your control are:
- Smoking – According to the American Heart Association, smoking may increase your risk of vascular disease by four times.
- Physical inactivity – Regular exercise can also be an effective treatment for PVD symptoms
- High blood pleasure
- High cholesterol – Contributes to the build-up of plague in the arteries
The Heart Center at St. Mark’s, has a program and specialist dedicated to diagnose and treat peripheral vascular disease. Our specialists use the latest technology and procedures to treat PVD with as little disruption to the patient as possible. They use minimally invasive procedures to remove plaque, fatty deposits, and blood clots as well as insert stents for reinforcement. If necessary, they also perform traditional bypass surgery.
Having a center dedicated to PVD means that patients are treated:
- By expert specialists who deal with PVD on a daily basis
- Using tools specifically designed for peripheral blood vessels
- In a center specifically designed for treating PVD, with equipment and amenities designed for better comfort and effectiveness
All of these factors lead to patients being treated more quickly and returning home sooner.
PVD is a dangerous condition but can be managed and treated with the right care to ease symptoms, stop disease progression and prevent more serious complications