In Wednesday's Neighborhood Health Watch, we're taking about Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and new treatment options. PVD is a blood circulation disorder that causes blood vessels outside of your heart and brain to narrow, block, or spasm.
This can happen in your arteries or veins. PVD causes pain and fatigue, most often in the calf muscles in your legs, and especially when you walk or exercise.
Some risk factors are diabetes, smoking, hypertension, and cholesterol. When it's not so bad, Peripheral Vascular Disease can be treated with mediations and a good walking program. Surgery may also be necessary.
"This is one of the catheters that are used that's introduced into the blood vessel through a needle hole. Through that, we have a lot of different tools which we call devices that can cross these blockages that can clean out the blockage in the artery. Lasers that can vaporize it and then to open up the artery and keep it open. We have balloons and stints now with chemicals on them that can open and keep them open," said Dr. Robert Levitt with Henrico Doctors' Hospital.
"If you can catch it early and treat it well and modify the risk factors, people can do well. If you let it progress to the point where somebody would have an ulcer, infection in the foot and it's not treated well, it can lead to amputation," added Dr. Levitt.
Dr. Levitt says PVD is easy to diagnose by measuring pressures in the arteries or the leg where Peripheral Vascular Disease most commonly occurs.