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.
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.
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:
- Stop smoking. Smoking constricts your blood vessels. It can also raise your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about non-smoking alternatives.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.