i) What is Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)?
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is caused by artherosclerosis which is the buid-up of plaque in the arteries. This leads is the narrowing of arteries supplying various organs of the body. Diabetes is a common but not the only contributing factor in developing PVD.
The diagram below depicts and build-up of plaque in the arteries seen in PVD.
The plaque seen in artherosclerosis is rock hard as one can see in the diagram above.
As seen in the above diagram, Smokers have a 4-5 times higher risk and Diabetics a 3-4 times higher risk of developing PVD. When multiple risk factors exist eg smoking, diabetes and hypertension in the same patient, the risk is multiplied.
iv) What are the symptoms?
PVD affects the organs of the whole body. Narrowed and diseased arteries may lead to Stroke or even Heart Attacks. It is common to have these co-existing conditions. Most patients do not have any symptoms of PVD. In Diabetics with PVD , this can range from dusky toes or pain in the feet or even having cold feet. In severe cases, they develop non healing wounds and even gangrene.