After many years in practice, we've learned that two medical terms consistently cause our patients' confusion. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) are the two conditions that describe this issue.
The misunderstanding is known to us. The similarities between these two words suggest that they refer to the same disease. It's simple to confuse one concept with another and act as though they imply the same thing when you use them interchangeably.
This article will define both of these phrases and highlight their key distinctions. We make this difference because we've seen how important it is to people when trying to find the correct information online or a doctor to address their circulation issues. The quick and dirty on peripheral vascular disease vs. peripheral artery disease
In reality, it couldn't be easier:
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a unique medical ailment that primarily impacts the arteries in the legs.
- Many circulatory illnesses fall under the "umbrella term" of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Veins and lymphatic vessels are also affected by these disorders. They aren't limited to showing up on your legs; your arms, neck, and face are also fair game.
A Longer Definition of Peripheral Artery Disease
Plaque, a fatty, adhesive substance, builds up on the inside surfaces of the arteries flowing to your legs, causing PAD. You may be familiar with the term "hardening of the arteries" and the medical term "atherosclerosis."
No matter what you label it, it poses a significant threat. Since the arteries are constricted, less blood can reach the lower extremities. The blood flow to your legs is restricted, so they don't get enough oxygen and nutrients. The result is that they start to fail in a variety of ways.
Leg pain, sores, wounds that won't heal, and immobility are indications of peripheral artery disease. Tissue death (gangrene) is an extreme complication of PAD that can result in amputation.
A Longer Definition of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
As mentioned up top, several other medical issues are included in the umbrella term PVD. Arteries can also be affected by sure of them. Blockage of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart, can lead to symptoms like angina or a full-blown heart attack. The kidneys are vulnerable to excessive blood pressure and cardiac failure if the arteries that supply them get blocked. A stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) can occur if blood flow to the brain is interrupted.
However, remember that peripheral vascular disease is a "group word" and includes venous illnesses. Common among these disorders is venous insufficiency, which manifests visually as enlarged, discolored veins known as varicose veins. Thrombus, or blood clots, can induce more severe forms of vein disease. Blood clots are harmful because they can spread beyond the original site, unlike atherosclerosis.
Clots from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can dislodge and lodge in the lung tissue. Developing a pulmonary embolism due to this is a severe medical emergency. Under the "cover" of peripheral vascular disease, several other circulatory disorders can be found. Aneurysms are abnormal ballooning of the vessel wall. Due to lymphedema, lymph fluid cannot drain from tissues, and immune cells cannot be sent to them.
What sets PAD apart from PVD, and why it's crucial to recognize the difference?
When you start looking up information about these conditions online or trying to find doctors who can treat them, you'll start to feel the impact of the distinction between these two phrases on a personal level. It's important to note that many online resources fail to distinguish between PAD (the disease) and PVD (a whole range of diseases).
This may lead to confusion. For example, if you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and you use Google to hunt for the top doctors in your area who treat PAD, it won't assist if you're sent to doctors who may treat peripheral vascular disease (PVD), but who may not have much experience with PAD (peripheral artery disease).