Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

Peripheral vascular disease is a disease of the blood vessels that are not part of your heart and brain. A simple term for PVD is poor circulation. In most cases, PVD narrows the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body.

This can reduce the supply of blood to your arms, legs, and internal organs, like your stomach or kidneys. However, PVD most often affects a person’s lower legs and feet. Without treatment, PVD tends to get worse.

PVD can also lead to acute ischemic limb. This is when an arm or leg suddenly cannot get enough blood. This is a medical emergency.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Or, stay at a healthy weight as told by your doctor.
  • Eat a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol. If you need help, ask your doctor.
  • Exercise regularly. Ask your doctor for activities that are right for you.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • Take good care of your feet:
    • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well.
    • Check your feet often for any cuts or sores.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • You have cramps in your legs when you walk.
  • You have leg pain when you are at rest.
  • You have coldness in a leg or foot.
  • Your skin changes.
  • You are unable to get or have an erection (erectile dysfunction).
  • You have cuts or sores on your feet that do not heal.

Get help right away if:

  • Your arm or leg turns cold, numb, and blue.
  • Your arms or legs become red, warm, swollen, painful, or numb.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You suddenly have weakness in your face, arm, or leg.
  • You become very confused or you cannot speak.
  • You suddenly have a very bad headache.
  • You suddenly cannot see.


  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a disease of the blood vessels.
  • A simple term for PVD is poor circulation. Without treatment, PVD tends to get worse.
  • Treatment may include exercise, low fat and low cholesterol diet, and quitting smoking.
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