Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD, is a common circulation problem which affects 1 in 20 people over the age of 50. It’s a condition where the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs become narrowed or clogged. PVD is sometimes called Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD. Many people also refer to the condition as “hardening of the arteries.”
What Causes Peripheral Vascular Disease?
The most common cause of this disease is atherosclerosis. This is a condition where over time, cholesterol and scar tissue builds up on the lining of the arteries, this is known as plaque. This causes a clogging of the vascular “pipes,” reducing blood flow. In some cases PVD may be caused by blood clots that lodge in the arteries and restrict blood flow.
How common is PVD?
Unfortunately, PVD affects more than 1 in 20 people over the ages of 50, or 12 million people in the United States alone. More than half of people with PVD experience leg pain, numbness, or other symptoms – but many people dismiss these signs as a “normal part of aging” and don’t seek medical help. Only about half of those with symptoms have been diagnosed with PVD and are seeing a doctor for treatment.
• PVD affects 12 million people in the United States alone, including 5% of the over 50 population
• Only a quarter of PVD sufferers are receiving treatment
• Of the symptomatic cases, 2.5 million go undiagnosed
• Of the 2.5 million diagnosed, 2.1 million are medically managed (i.e. exercise)
Annual screenings help to identify this disease and treat it before it becomes a problem.