Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Peripheral Artery/Vascular Disease:

  • What are peripheral arteries?

  • Central arteries transport blood directly from the heart, while peripheral arteries carry blood everywhere else in the body (head, neck, arms, lower abdomen, legs and feet).

  • What is peripheral artery/vascular disease, what causes it and what are the symptoms?

  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) occur when peripheral blood vessels are blocked, hardened and narrowed, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

    Risk factors for developing vascular disease include:

    • Family history of atherosclerosis
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • High blood pressure
    • Exposure to lead and cadmium
    • Kidney disease

    Signs that you may have peripheral vascular disease are leg pain that often occurs when exercising and ceases during rest; numbness, coldness, change of color or loss of hair in the legs or feet; muscle pain in the thighs or lower; paleness, blueness or weak or absent pulse in a limb; and an abnormal change in the way you walk.

  • How is PAD/PVD diagnosed?

  • Various instruments and tests can detect the presence of vascular disease. These include blood pressure cuffs, Doppler and intravascular (IVUS) ultrasound, angiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), plethysmogram and venogram.

  • How can PAD/PVD be treated?

  • Treatment options for PAD/PVD range from lifestyle changes and medications (sclerosing agents or blood thinners) to catheter-based treatments and traditional or endoscopic surgery. Surgery promotes clear blood flow by bypassing a vessel using a graft made of tissue from another undamaged vessel.