Peripheral Vascular Disease
(PVD; PAD; Arteriosclerosis Obliterans; Atherosclerosis; Peripheral Vascular Arterial Disease)
DefinitionPeripheral vascular disease (PVD) is disease of any blood vessel that is not part of the heart or brain. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by deposits of fatty material called atheroma in arteries of the legs. Since arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the cells of the body, a reduction in blood flow can cause bodily organs to fail.
CausesPAD is usually caused by a gradual buildup of plaque called atherosclerosis that happens within the arteries. Other causes include blood clots or embolisms, congenital heart disease, and inflammation of the blood vessels called vasculitis.
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Risk FactorsPAD is more common in men and in people over 50 years of age. Other factors that increase your chance of developing PAD include:
- High blood pressure or family history of high blood pressure
- Stroke or family history of stroke
- High cholesterol or family history of high cholesterol
- High homocysteine level in blood
- Family history of PAD
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