What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) also referred to as peripheral artery disease is one of the most common diseases and occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the limbs and other organs of our body are partially or completely blocked due to plaque build-up. This condition is called atherosclerosis. Plaque forms out of the substances present in the blood such as fat, cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue. These plaque deposits gradually harden and narrow the lumen of the arteries. This limits the oxygen-rich blood supply to the various parts of your body. The most commonly affected blood vessels because of PVD are the arteries of the legs.
Therapies for Peripheral Vascular Disease
The goals of PVD treatment are to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life and to prevent complications. The treatment for PVD includes the following therapies:
This includes medication to lower high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Also, medicines that prevent the formation of blood clots and relieve leg pain may be given
Stop smoking as smoking increases your risk of PVD by four times. Exercise regularly and be physically active. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar level monitored regularly to avoid the risk of stroke and heart disease. Eat a well-balanced diet with a lower amount of fats and salt.
Catheter-based therapy involves the following procedures:
- Angioplasty and Stenting: Angioplasty is a procedure done to restore blood flow through a blocked artery. It involves the passage of a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip into a blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated to displace the plaque outwards. This restores the blood flow by widening the artery. In addition, a stent may be placed in the artery to keep it open after angioplasty is done.
- Atherectomy: This is a procedure in which a catheter with a small cutting device is passed into the blocked artery. This device breaks up the plaque into bits which are washed away with the bloodstream or through the catheter.