What Is Peripheral Venous Disease?
Peripheral venous disease (PVD) refers to a group of conditions that affect the veins outside the heart and brain, typically in the legs, but also in the arms. The most common type of PVD is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which occurs when the valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart become damaged or weakened, causing blood to flow backward and pool in the veins. This can lead to symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, varicose veins, skin changes, and ulcers. Vein disease is recognized by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance carriers as a medical condition, and is affecting more than 30 million people in the United States.
Symptoms of Peripheral Venous Disease (PVD)?
It’s more than just what you can see.
Skin Color Changes
Skin Cracking Sores
Sometimes it’s about how you feel:
- Restless leg
Lifestyle Risk Factors
The most common risk factors are:
- Age (30+)
- Prolonged periods of sitting and/or standing
- Obesity or excessive weight
- Multiple pregnancies
- Heavy lifting
Genetic Risk Factors
Gender — women are more likely to develop the disease
To determine whether or not you have vein disease, an ultrasound scan is used. It is the only definitive way to diagnose the disease. A technician uses this test to get an image of the inside of the veins in your leg. A doctor will review the test results to determine if the valves inside the veins are working properly. The disease is common and treatable.
Vein disease can affect ALL people, regardless of age, gender, or race. Early detection of Peripheral Venous Disease is critical since it is a systemic & chronic disease.
The primary objectives of managing PVD are to manage its symptoms and prevent the disease from advancing, thus minimizing the likelihood of experiencing complications like heart attack or stroke.
- Lifestyle changes, such as engaging in routine physical activity, consuming a balanced and healthy diet, and discontinuing smoking, can help regulate risk factors.
- Intensive management of preexisting medical conditions that could exacerbate PVD, such as diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels.
- Medicines aimed at enhancing blood circulation, including anticoagulants (blood thinners) and vasodilators that cause relaxation of blood vessel walls.
- Surgical intervention involving a bypass graft utilizing a blood vessel from elsewhere in the body or a synthetic tube that is implanted in the region of the constricted or obstructed artery to redirect blood flow.
- Angioplasty: The procedure entails the use of a lengthy, hollow tube (catheter) to widen an artery and improve blood flow. Multiple forms of angioplasty exist, such as:
- Balloon angioplasty (a small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area)
- Atherectomy (the blocked area inside the artery is “shaved” away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter)
- Laser angioplasty (a laser is used to “vaporize” the blockage in the artery)
- Stent (a tiny coil is expanded inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area and is left in place to keep the artery open)
The complications of PVD typically arise from reduced or nonexistent blood circulation.
- Amputation (loss of a limb)
- Poor wound healing
- Restricted mobility due to pain or discomfort
- Severe pain in the affected extremity
- Stroke (3 times more likely in people with PVD)
These complications can most often be prevented following an aggressive treatment plan for PVD.