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Peripheral vascular disease: Clinical
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Peripheral vascular disease is an abnormal narrowing of arteries other than the ones that supply the heart or brain, and it most often affects the ones in the legs.
Eventually, the affected artery becomes progressively narrower, and this may lead to pain, ulceration, and even gangrene.
Now, most people with peripheral vascular disease actually don’t have symptoms until occlusion becomes significant, which is when 70% of the vessel lumen is obstructed.
This is because the blood supply may be enough to meet the muscle needs at rest, but not the increased needs during activity, leading to ischemia – so basically, occurs when oxygen demand is greater than oxygen supply.
The perceived level of symptoms from intermittent claudication can be mild to extremely severe depending on the degree of blood supply.
Intermittent claudication can present unilaterally or bilaterally, as buttock and hip, thigh, calf, or foot pain, singly or in combination.
In addition, pulses in one or both groins are diminished, and bilateral aortoiliac disease that is severe enough almost always causes erectile dysfunction.
Location of pain depends upon the artery involved. Lower aorta or iliac artery involvement causes pain in the hips and buttocks.
Iliac or common femoral artery involvement causes pain in the thigh.
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a group of diseases that affect the circulation in the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. PVD can cause the blood vessels to get narrowed or blocked, leading to poor circulation and possible ischemia of the affected body parts. Symptoms depend on the affected organ and may include leg pain, cramping, and fatigue. It is commonly associated with smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Treatment options for PVD include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.
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