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Recognizing Peripheral Vascular Disease

Recognizing Peripheral Vascular Disease

The health of the blood vessels that fuel your heart and brain get a lot of attention, and rightly so. Just as important, though, are the arteries, veins, and capillaries that transport blood to and from the rest of your body.

Dr. Manjulatha Badam of Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics in San Antonio, Texas, is a board-certified internist and wound care specialist who is also fellowship-trained in hyperbaric medicine.

She has more than 15 years of clinical experience treating and preventing the long-term health consequences of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), including chronic wounds, lymphedema, and limb amputation.

In this blog, Dr. Badam shares details about PVD, the symptoms to watch for, and how it can affect your overall health.

Understanding the vascular system

Your vascular (blood circulatory) system includes three types of blood vessels:

Arteries

These vessels carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the rest of your body. Large arteries branch into increasingly smaller arteries that eventually connect with tiny capillaries.

Veins

Your veins carry blood picked up from capillaries back to the heart and lungs for refueling with oxygen and other nutrients your cells rely on for normal function. Veins start small and grow larger as they near the heart.

Capillaries

Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels. They connect with arteries to distribute oxygen-rich blood to your cells and with veins to remove oxygen-depleted blood, excess fluids, and waste products from the tissues that form your skin and internal organ systems.

Understanding peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a general term for conditions that restrict or block normal blood flow through the veins or arteries outside of your brain or he

art. 

These conditions include:

Although PVD can affect any part of your body, it’s most common in the legs.

There are certain factors that increase your risk of developing PVD:  

Note that a diagnosis of coronary artery disease greatly increases your risk of PVD. The same plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) that affects coronary arteries often involves the peripheral arteries as well. 

Signs and symptoms of peripheral vascular disease

The signs of PVD affecting your legs are typically quite subtle initially but gradually worsen as the condition progresses. Your symptoms may include:

Health complications related to untreated PVD can become quite severe and may include decreased mobility, lymphedema, chronic pain, spreading tissue death, and eventual limb amputation. 

For more information about PVD and the treatments we offer to counter its effects, schedule an appointment with us at Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics today. Call or request an appointment online.

Author
Dr. Manjulatha Badam

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