Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), refers to a number of diseases that affect the blood vessels outside the lungs and heart. The legs and feet are the most commonly affected areas. Conditions encompassed by the term "peripheral vascular disease" include atherosclerosis, Buerger's Disease, Raynaud's Phenomenon, deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema.


Almost half of all people diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease have no symptoms. The symptoms of PVD may resemble other conditions so it is important to consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. The most common symptom is discomfort or painful cramping in the leg. 

Other symptoms include:

  • changes in the skin, including decreased skin temperature, or thin, shiny skin on the legs and feet
  • gangrene (dead tissue due to lack of blood flow)
  • hair loss on the legs
  • impotence
  • non-healing wounds on the legs and feet
  • numbness or weakness in muscles
  • reddish-blue discoloration of the legs and feet
  • restricted mobility
  • thickened, opaque toenails


Treatment options for peripheral vascular disease are determined by the patient's age, overall health, medical history, and extent of the disease. Treatments can include lifestyle changes to control risk factors, including regular exercise, proper nutrition and smoking cessation. Treatment also may include medication. For a small minority of patients, medical procedures such as angioplasty or vascular surgery may be necessary.

The UK Vascular Surgery team works together to offer patients the most up-to-date information on the latest diagnosis and treatment methods. Call 859-257-1000 or toll free 1-800-333-8874 for an appointment.


Peripheral Vascular Disease - American Heart Association 

Page last updated: 7/21/2017 5:14:42 PM