Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) are similar disorders of the circulatory system and the terms are often used interchangeably. The difference between the two is that peripheral vascular disease refers to disorders of the circulatory system that affect any blood vessel outside of the brain or heart and peripheral artery disease is a disorder specifically affecting the arteries, particularly in the arms and legs.
Some of the symptoms of PVD and PAD may include: numbness or pain in the extremities, bluish discoloration of the skin or slow healing wounds. The biggest risk factors for PVD and PAD are: having coronary artery disease (CAD), smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity.
The processes that lead to coronary atherosclerosis can lead to the same problem in the peripheral arteries. Patients who have evidence of CAD should be carefully evaluated for PVD. Similarly, PVD could be indicative of CAD.
If you receive a heart disease diagnosis the most important thing is not to ignore it. Early treatments, such as medications and lifestyle changes such as a heart healthy diet and a modest exercise plan can often make a world of difference in your physical well being over the long-term. It is best to work with a board-certified cardiologist such as those at the Center, that have the specialized knowledge and experience to develop a treatment plan specific to your needs and lifestyle in order to produce the best possible outcome.