Peripheral Vascular Disease and Poor Circulation in Legs: Are they related?
Peripheral Vascular Disease (P.V.D.) is a chronic disease that causes plaque buildup in the leg arteries resulting in poor circulation. This disorder can also be referred to as peripheral artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, “hardening” of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. No matter how we refer to this vascular disease, it is important to understand its symptoms and how a vascular specialist doctor can help improve circulation in feet or legs.
Healthy arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to freely provide oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to our legs. As we age, we begin to gradually buildup plaque, a sticky substance made up of fat and cholesterol, in the arteries. This plaque narrows the passageway within the arteries and causes them to become stiff.
One of the main symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, in its early stages, is leg or foot pain or difficulty walking. This pain, called claudication, can temporarily go away with rest, but will act up again with more walking or activity. The pain itself is not limb threatening but it is a sign that you should make lifestyle changes and see a vascular specialist doctor to improve circulation.
Without proper medical care the blockage can worsen and blood flow in that artery can become limited or blocked all together. In its most severe form, limbs can be starved of the basic nutrients they need, and patients can begin to develop sores in their feet that will not heal. These signs and symptoms should not be ignored as they could lead to amputation.
Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include:
- Leg pain while walking that may go away at rest
- Sores on feet or toes that won’t heal or skin changes
- Ankle swelling, tightness in calves, tired or heavy feeling legs
- Changes in the skin color or texture
- Weak pulses in leg and feet
- Coldness or discoloration of feet.
A visit to a vascular doctor is imperative if you suffer from any of these symptoms. Only a vascular surgeon can help you find the right treatment option to prevent limb loss. Treatment options vary from lifestyle changes, medical management, non-invasive angioplasty procedures to surgical bypass or even a hybrid combination of open surgical and endovascular techniques.
At PVA, our goal is to provide a range of treatment options and partner with our patients to create a customized treatment plan for each unique condition and lifestyle. The vascular experts are PVA are specially trained in all the procedures available to treat peripheral vascular disease and improve circulation.
If you think you have vascular disease, or poor circulation, make an appointment to see a vascular specialist doctor at PVA.