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What is PVD?



 
Do you get leg cramps or leg pain when you climb stairs or walk? When you stop and rest, the pain may go away. But usually returns when you start to walk again. This is a pain cycle called intermittent claudication. It can also be a symptom of Peripheral Vascular Disease, or PVD (also called “poor circulation”). With PVD, the vessels that carry blood to your lower extremities become blocked or narrowed. This makes it more difficult for the blood to reach your lower body. If PVD is left untreated, leg and foot tissue may perish. This is called black foot or gangrene and may lead to amputation. You can avoid these conditions by working with your podiatrist.
 
Peripheral vascular disease - Podiatrist in Bloomington-Normal, Pontiac, and Clinton
 

What Causes PVD?

When you mature, your blood vessels may degenerate. Plaque ( an excess of fat and other matter) might accumulate along the inside lining of the blood vessels. The plaque may constrict your blood vessels.

Treatment

Your podiatrist will first ask you questions about where and when you feel pain and the duration. Your pulse and blood pressure will be taken at your legs and arms to check your blood circulation. Your podiatrist will also check your feet for cracks, fissures, infections and discoloration.

Your podiatrist will order some tests to pinpoint the blockage. A Doppler Exam uses sound waves to produce an image of your blood vessels. It is harmless and non-invasive. The podiatrist may examine the entire leg. An Arteriogram uses a dye that is injected into your blood vessels. Then a variety of x-rays are taken. The dye helps the blood vessels show up on the x-rays.

Controlling PVD

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes make PVD harder to control. Talk to your podiatrist about managing these problems. Here are a few ways to control PVD:
  1. Stop smoking. Smoking constricts your blood vessels. It can also raise your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about non-smoking alternatives.
  2. Eat right. Avoid fatty, fried and greasy foods, too much fat in your diet can increase your cholesterol and block your blood vessels. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Avoid caffeine.
  3. Control blood sugar. Work with your doctor to control your blood sugar levels, high blood sugar from diabetes can greatly increase the damage to the blood vessels.
  4. Get active. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program. Exercise improves your cardiovascular system and increases blood flow. It may even help your blood vessels to increase. With regular activity you will minimize pain.
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