Peripheral vascular disease is a potentially life-threatening condition that increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. At Maryland Cardiology Associates, the team of expert cardiologists works with adults to diagnose and treat peripheral vascular disease using safe, effective means. To make an appointment at the practice in Greenbelt, Maryland, call the office to speak with a friendly member of the administrative staff or click the online booking tool.

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What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease causes the blood vessels throughout your body to narrow or spasm. Over time, that affects your circulation, decreasing blood flow to the extremities like your arms and legs.

Without early intervention and treatment, peripheral vascular disease increases the risk of blood clots, organ damage, and amputation. Often, it’s characterized by leg pain that increases during exercise or other types of physical activity.

What are the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease?

Common symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include:

  • Painful leg cramps
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Cold feet
  • A change in the color of your legs

If you have peripheral vascular disease, you might also develop slow-healing sores on the weight-bearing areas of your feet.

What are the types of peripheral vascular disease?

There are two types of peripheral vascular disease:

Functional peripheral vascular disease

Functional peripheral vascular disease occurs due to external factors like temperature changes, stress, or medication. It causes your blood vessels to widen and narrow rapidly, affecting blood flow throughout your body.

Organic peripheral vascular disease

Organic peripheral vascular disease occurs due to changes in the structure of your blood vessels. Common causes of organic peripheral vascular disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

How is peripheral vascular disease diagnosed?

To diagnose peripheral vascular disease, Maryland Cardiology Associates conducts a physical exam. During the exam, they listen to your heart with a stethoscope and look at your feet and toes to pinpoint any slow-healing wounds.

If an exam doesn’t provide enough information to make a diagnosis, your provider might also order laboratory testing to determine your cholesterol and triglyceride levels or an ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow throughout your body.

How is peripheral vascular disease treated?

Treatment of peripheral vascular disease focuses on two things: easing uncomfortable symptoms and reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

To achieve these goals, Maryland Cardiology Associates usually recommends healthy lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, losing weight, and eating a balanced diet, combined with prescription medication like cholesterol-lowering drugs or drugs that control high blood sugar.

If medication and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to improve your quality of life, surgical intervention may be necessary. Your provider might recommend bypass surgery, angioplasty, or thrombolytic therapy.

To further explore treatment for peripheral vascular disease, make an appointment at Maryland Cardiology Associates by calling the office to speak with a friendly member of the administrative staff or by clicking the online booking tool today.