It is also known as Peripheral Artery Occlusive Disease or Peripheral Obliterative Arteriopathy. It is a disease caused due to obstruction in the large arteries (excluding arteries within the brain, coronary, or aortic arch vasculature). It can occur as a result of atherosclerosis, or certain inflammatory processes that may lead to stenosis, thrombus or embolism. An individual affected with PVD may experience acute or chronic ischemia. Ischemia is the condition where the patient may lack blood supply to certain parts of the body. Atherosclerotic blockages seen in the lower extremity are usually referred to as PVD.
About 20% cases of PVD are asymptomatic. Some of the common symptoms found in PAD patients are:
- Weakness, numbness, pain, muscle cramping etc., due to decreased blood supply- Commonly referred to as Claudification.
- Difficulty in healing of sores, wounds or ulcers.
- Noticeable colour/temperature changes.
- Reduced hair and nail growth on the affected limb and digits.
Diagnosis of PVD is usually done by analysing the symptoms and through physical examinations. Other non-invasive diagnostic techniques are also used. It may include CT Scan, MRA, Doppler ultrasound etc. Treatment options may vary according to the severity of the disease. Avoiding or managing the risk factors will be helpful for mild cases of PVD. It may include:
- Quit smoking.
- Diabetes management.
- Hypertension management.
- Cholesterol management.
- Regular exercise.
- Treatments to relieve symptoms.
If the symptoms do not respond to the medical management methods, the doctor may suggest surgical procedures:
- Bypass grafting.
- Plaque excision.
- Arterial thrombosis.
To have a long-term result, aggressive treatment options may be requires. The patients should carefully follow the instructions of the doctor to cope with and manage the disease.