Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a blood circulation condition that causes narrowing, spasm or blockage of the blood vessels outside of your heart and brain.
PVD can occur in the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Peripheral vascular disease can also affect the veins that transport blood back up to your heart.
The narrowed or blocked blood vessels do a poor job of delivering oxygen-rich blood to the cells of your body, and do not adequately carry away waste products made by body cells. This means your body cells do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function well.
Also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), PVD most commonly affects the veins in the lower legs and feet.
Left untreated, PVD can cause chronic sores, especially on your legs. This is because the narrowed blood vessels cannot carry waste products up and out of your lower legs. The toxins damage skin tissue to cause open wounds.
Causes of Peripheral Vascular Disease
There are two main types of peripheral vascular disease, functional PVD, and organic PVD. Each type is the result of different causes.
Your blood vessels widen and narrow naturally in response to your environment. Functional PVD causes an exaggerated response of the blood vessels to environmental changes.
The most common causes of functional PVD include emotional stress, cold temperatures, drugs, and the operation of vibrating machinery or tools.
Organic PVD is the result of structural changes to your blood vessels. Plaque buildup from arteriosclerosis, which is thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries, can cause organic PVD. The main causes of organic peripheral vascular disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Extreme injuries, abnormal structure of muscles or ligaments, infection and inflammation of the blood vessels can also cause organic PVD.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing peripheral vascular disease. You might be at greater risk for PVD if you are older than 50, are overweight, have high cholesterol, have a personal history of stroke or cerebrovascular disease. Your risk of PVD is greater if you have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or a have a family history of PVD, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Certain lifestyle choices can cause PVD. These lifestyle choices include lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, smoking and drug use.
Vein treatment can help reduce PVD and other types of leg vein disease. Vein treatment for PVD centers on opening up the vein to make it more functional. Vein treatment always begins with a comprehensive evaluation of an accurate diagnosis and rule out other types of leg vein disease, such as varicose veins and spider veins. Treatment can reduce the occurrence of PVD and promote vein health.