The signs of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) may not always be obvious. Symptoms like cramping and erectile dysfunction might not be what comes to mind when you imagine a cardiovascular disease, and hair loss on the legs could make the path towards treatment that much more difficult.
Diagnosing PVD is Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Ronnie G. Smalling’s expertise. Smalling Vascular Institute will help you determine the cause behind your symptoms and direct you towards peripheral vascular disease treatment. Dr. Smalling listens to and addresses your concerns and questions.
PVD is the reduction of blood flow through arteries and veins due to vessel spasms, narrowing, or blockage. There are two types of peripheral vascular disease: organic PVD is a physical change in the blood vessels, while functional PVD is caused by reactions to environmental stimuli.
PVD frequently affects the legs, but can also impact the vessels in the arms, intestines, and kidneys.
Claudication (cramps, pain, and fatigue in the hips, thighs, and buttocks while walking) is a common symptom. Your pain will subside with rest. Other PVD symptoms include:
Symptoms will worsen and become more frequent with time, with pain becoming so great that it becomes difficult to move. In its worse stages, PVD may cause:
Causes of organic PVD include:
Functional PVD can be caused by:
Other risk factors include:
You can help prevent PVD by:
Healthcare professionals may misdiagnose PVD as chronic venous insufficiency. Dr. Smalling goes beyond to ensure that you leave the office with the right diagnosis.
Dr. Smalling will diagnose the cause of your symptoms by performing one or more of these noninvasive tests:
Dr. Smalling will review your medical history and any medications you may be taking. He will also go over aspects of your health (like your diet) and take your blood pressure.
Dr. Smalling may also perform a venous refill test using a blood pressure cuff. Your leg will be raised and lowered to determine how long it takes for blood to return to the top of the foot. You may have a venous disease if this refill takes less than 15 seconds.
An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a type of pule volume recording (PVR). ABI is a comparison of the blood pressure in your arms to the pressure in your ankles. If your ankle pressure is lower than your arm pressure, you may have PVD.
As a PVR, blood pressure cuffs and a Doppler ultrasound device are used during an ABI. You may have your blood pressure measured after running on a treadmill to trigger your symptoms (post-exercise ABI).
If he makes a PVD diagnosis, Dr. Smalling will refer you to a treatment specialist.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and PVD are very similar conditions. PAD only affects your arteries, while PVD can affect both your arteries and veins. Dr. Smalling will help determine which vessels are being affected.