PVD and PAD: Similar yet different

In order to care for your health in the best manner possible, it’s important to understand conditions and how to prevent them. Certain diseases are so alike, they are often associated with one another. However, knowing even subtle differences can be beneficial to prevention—and that’s certainly the case with PAD and PVD.

PAD, peripheral arterial disease, and PVD, peripheral vein disease, are two conditions that are addressed interchangeably on occasion. While both have to do with the vascular system, they do have variances. PAD is a disease that singularly affects the arteries. Yet, PVD covers a wider range of issues including the blood vessels, veins, and lymphatic vessels of the body.

Both diseases do limit the flow of oxygenated blood by blocking or narrowing blood vessels. A big difference is that PAD generates structural damage to the walls of the arteries, while PVD does not.

It’s vital to know symptoms of both conditions. Bayhealth Cardiothoracic Surgeon Paul Fedalen, MD, shares what to look for when it comes to PAD and PVD:

Symptoms of PAD could include:

  • Thin skin on the legs
  • Slow healing sores on toes, feet and legs
  • Pain or cramping in leg, thigh and gluteal muscles that are not an issue while sitting
  • Numbing or tingling sensation in lower extremities
  • Skin color changes on limbs
  • Reduced nail growth on toes

Symptoms of PVD could include:

  • Loss of hair on legs
  • Legs or feet are cold to the touch
  • Dull pain or cramps in lower limbs
  • Tightness or heaviness in the leg muscles
  • Infrequent burning in the lower limbs
  • Skin color changes

Before symptoms even begin, measures that could greatly help reduce risks are:

  • Changes in diet that involve increased amounts of fruits and vegetables, high-quality dairy and lean meats. Limiting foods with simple carbohydrates (sweets), processed or packaged foods, and unhealthy fats
  • Quit smoking and/or avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
  • Prescription medication to reduce blood clot risk (guided by your PCP)
  • Weight loss
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Gaining control over diabetes or high blood pressure

Working alongside your own primary care physician to find out what you personally need to do to prevent either condition is the best place to begin. If you’re already experiencing some symptoms, it’s vital to get ahead of these conditions before they worsen.

Article provided by Bayhealth. Learn more at Bayhealth.org/Foundation.