Peripheral vascular disease could refer to any circulatory condition that isn’t in your heart or brain. Board-certified cardiology and interventional cardiology specialists Rakesh Sahni, MD, and Sheila Sahni, MD, of Sahni Heart Center in Clark, Fords, Red Bank, and City of Orange, New Jersey, specialize in dealing with peripheral vascular diseases and improving your circulatory health. Make an appointment over the phone today, or you can also use the online booking form for Sahni Heart Center’s Clark, New Jersey, office.

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What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is an umbrella term for conditions that involve the circulatory system, with the exception of the heart and brain.

Peripheral vascular disease could include any condition affecting any blood vessels but is often used to mean peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Causes of peripheral vascular disease include:

  • Blood clots
  • Diabetes
  • Arteritis
  • Vasculitis
  • Infection
  • Structural defects
  • Injury

The most common reason why you’d have peripheral vascular disease is atherosclerosis.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries. It develops when a fatty waste material called plaque builds up in your blood vessels.

The buildup happens slowly, often over years, until the arteries get weak or narrow to an extent that affects blood flow. In some cases, plaque can block the artery and stop blood flow altogether. At this stage, you’d have coronary artery disease.

Atherosclerosis doesn’t just affect arteries in the brain and heart, though – it can affect blood vessels anywhere in your body. The legs are most likely to get peripheral vascular disease, but it can also cause serious kidney problems and other conditions.

What are the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease causes various symptoms, depending on which blood vessels are involved. In your legs, you might have:

  • Cold feet
  • Pain
  • Bluish discoloration
  • Swelling

If you have peripheral vascular disease and don’t receive treatment, the part of your body with the diseased blood vessels starts to fail and die. You could then get gangrene, which might lead to amputation.

How is peripheral vascular disease treated?

You might need to take medication for peripheral vascular disease, depending on what’s causing it. For example, you could take cholesterol-lowering medication to stop the plaque buildup from getting any worse.

However, there aren’t any medications that can flush the plaque out of your body. At Sahni Heart Center, Dr. Sahni uses endovascular interventions like angioplasty to treat peripheral vascular disease.

Angioplasty involves inserting a catheter, which is a narrow tube, into the artery. Dr. Sahni makes a small incision and feeds the catheter through the artery using ultrasound imaging to ensure the catheter is passing along smoothly.

When it’s in place, Dr. Sahni inflates a small balloon that presses on the plaque inside the artery. This squeezes the plaque and makes more room for blood to flow. Dr. Sahni can help keep the artery open by putting a small piece of permanent mesh tubing called a stent into the artery as well.

To find out more about peripheral vascular disease or book a vascular health check, call Sahni Heart Center today, or you can choose to book online for the Clark, New Jersey, office.