Peripheral vascular disease
What is peripheral vascular disease (PVD)?
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a circulation disorder that causes narrowing, blockage, or spasms of blood vessels to parts of the body other than the brain and heart. This can occur in your arteries or veins.
It can also affect the vessels that supply blood and oxygen to your:
- stomach and intestines
PVD typically causes pain and fatigue, often in your legs, and especially during exercise. The pain usually improves with rest.
In PVD, blood vessels become narrowed and blood flow decreases. This can be due to arteriosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries,” or it can be caused by blood vessel spasms. In arteriosclerosis, plaques build up in a vessel and limit the flow of blood and oxygen to your organs and limbs.
As plaque growth progresses, clots may develop and completely block the artery. This can lead to organ damage and loss of fingers, toes, or limbs, if left untreated.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) develops only in the arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart.
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