Peripheral Vascular Disease

Dr. Alrich L. Gray // Central Montana Heart & Vascular Institute

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease occurs when any blood vessel in your body becomes narrowed or blocked, reducing the blood supply to that area of your body. The narrowing of these vessels is usually caused by a buildup of plaque or fatty deposits (atherosclerosis). Peripheral vascular disease most commonly affects the legs. Symptoms include:

  • Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles when moving
  • Slow healing, hair growth, or nail growth on your feet or legs
  • A change in the color of your legs
  • No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
  • Pain when using your arms

Your doctor may treat peripheral vascular disease with drugs including cholesterol medications, beta blockers, anti-platelet medications, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics. These medications work by reducing plaque buildup, lowering your heart rate, reducing clotting, or lowering your blood pressure. Your doctor may also perform an angioplasty – in this procedure, a stent is inserted to the blocked part of your artery. The stent will widen the artery and keep it open, improving blood flow around your body.