Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a spectrum of diseases affecting the different arteries of the body. The most common forms of PVD effect the arteries of the legs (Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD) and the arteries of the neck (Carotid Artery Stenosis or CAS).
Both of these diseases are caused by a build up of plaque in the arteries causing the blockage of blood flow. As both PAD and CAS can be asymptomatic, it is important to recognize those people at elevated risk. If you are a current or former smoker, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or coronary artery disease, you are at risk of having PAD or CAS.
PAD is a very common disease affecting 8-12 million Americans. Typically, people with PAD experience cramping or pain in the legs or feet with walking. This is called claudication. If you have claudication or any of the risk factors mentioned above, you should speak to your doctor. Generally, your doctor will order a test measuring the blood pressure in your arms and your ankles, called an Ankle-Brachial Index or ABI.
CAS is a disease that increases the risk of having a stroke. If you have experienced stroke-like symptoms (such as slurred speech, drooping facing, weakness in the arms or legs) or have any of the risk factors mentioned above, you should speak to your doctor. Typically your doctor will order an ultrasound of the arteries of your neck called a Carotid Artery Ultrasound.