Peripheral Vascular Disease
PAD; Peripheral artery disease; PVD
Peripheral vascular disease (or peripheral artery disease) is the process by which the peripheral arteries (i.e., the arteries outside of the heart and brain) develop atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fat and cholesterol deposits called plaques, on the inside walls of the vessels.
Over time, the accumulation of plaques leads to narrowing of the artery, which causes reduced blood flow to the muscles and other tissues in that region of the body, leading to ischemia or inadequate blood supply to the tissue. When this occurs in the arteries that supply the tissues in the legs, this can produce a condition known as intermittent claudication, in which there is pain and cramping in the leg, because of inadequate blood supply. Notably, the pain occurs at the identical level of activity every time the leg is exercised. Other changes indicative of limb ischemia include changes in skin color, non-healing skin, and soft...