PVD, or Peripheral Vascular Disease, can be a silent disease. Most patients don’t even know that they have this disease until it is too late. According to the CDC, over 40% of the population is obese. With obesity being one of the main risk factors for this disease, its prevalence is rising. Luckily, there are treatments available, even non-surgical treatments. Non-surgical treatments are sought out because of their lack of risk of surgical complications and possible infections. In fact, some of the treatment options that are available can not only treat PVD, but they can treat and prevent other cardiovascular diseases. PVD may be a serious disease, but it is a curable one. Let’s examine what PVD is and how patients can go on to live healthier lives after treating their disease.

What is PVD?

Peripheral Vascular Disease or Peripheral Artery Disease is the narrowing of the arteries within the heart, reducing adequate blood flow to the rest of the body. Plaque and fatty deposits coat the inside of the arteries, constricting the width of the arteries. Blood and oxygen are unable to get throughout the body as they should. The feet, legs, and other extremities are affected the most by the lack of blood and oxygen causing several of the diseases’ symptoms. Your cardiologist or doctor can diagnose this disease by giving the patient an angiogram, an ultrasound, an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography), a treadmill exercise test, and other similar tests.

What Puts Me at Risk?

There are several risk factors that can lead to a PVD diagnosis. Unfortunately, most of these risk factors are risk factors for other cardiovascular issues as well. If you have any of these risk factors, speak to your doctor about your options for treatment:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

What are the Symptoms?

PVD can present itself with a multitude of symptoms. Unfortunately, only 60% of sufferers experience symptoms. For those that do experience symptoms, they can have leg pain, especially when they are walking. They may also have cool skin, loss of hair on their legs, and/or thinning leg skin. They may also develop ulcers. Regrettably, some patients experiencing these symptoms may not think much of their symptoms, and they may not believe that they are part of a bigger problem with their cardiac system. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor for further advice.

What are the Treatment Options?

If you are diagnosed with PVD, there are several treatment options at your disposal. From self-care to surgery, PVD is a treatable condition. Surgery does not have to be your only option. There are plenty of non-surgical options available for those with PVD:

  • Self-Care Options
  • Medication
  • Non-Surgical Options

Self-care can make a world of a difference in your overall health and can help treat your PVD symptoms. Adding a strenuous exercise plan as well as a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other risk factors of PVD. You can reduce and control your blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Lastly, stopping smoking can also help you become a healthier person and reduce the effects of your PVD.

Several medications can treat PVD and its symptoms and help you on your path to cardiac wellness.

  • Statin- Statin decreases your body’s production of bad cholesterol.
  • Anticoagulant- Anticoagulants inhibits your blood from clotting, preventing blood clots from forming in your arteries.
  • Vasodilator- A vasodilator widens your blood vessels, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow fully throughout the body.
  • Daily Aspirin

Lastly, there are non-surgical options available to treat PVD. First, the doctor can perform an angioplasty to open your heart’s arteries, allowing blood and oxygen to flow freely. They can also perform a carotid stenting, which opens the carotid artery and keeps it open for adequate blood flow. They can also perform a renal angioplasty with a stent. This stent is inserted into the patient’s renal artery, which allows for better blood flow to their kidneys. Lastly, the doctor can perform an abdominal aortic stent graft. During this procedure, a stent is placed into an aneurism within the heart’s aorta.  This stent allows for blood to pass through the aneurism, removing the pressure off the aorta walls.

In summary, PVD does not have to be a death sentence. With better health practices, medication, and/or non-surgical treatments, your cardiac health can improve! If you are looking to improve your cardiac health or treat your PVD or other heart conditions, contact CT Cardio for more information!