How To Prevent And Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a disease where the legs, arms, or other body parts receive restricted levels of blood flow. Restricted blood flow happens when the veins or arteries in an individual's limbs become blocked, spasm, or become narrowed. When the peripheral vascular disease is only present in the arteries, it is referred to as peripheral arterial disease. There are two different types of peripheral vascular disease. 

Organic peripheral vascular disease is precipitated from plaque accumulation, tissue damage, or inflammation. Functional peripheral vascular disease is characterized by a decrease in the flow of blood as a reaction to a mechanism that causes the blood vessels to be inconsistent in size. Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include peripheral claudication, leg cramps, reddish-blue legs or arms, leg hair loss, slow healing wounds, numbness in the toes, cold skin, thickened toenails, and atrophy.

Get Regular Exercise

Patients can help treat their existing case of peripheral vascular disease if they get regular exercise and make it an ongoing habit. However, individuals who have peripheral vascular disease may lose their ability to mobilize and function the same way they did before developing the condition. An affected individual has been subconsciously wired to avoid exercise due to its association with pain because of peripheral vascular disease. This programming in the brain causes the patient to lose the function of the muscles and circulatory mechanisms in their legs over time. Part of treating peripheral vascular disease is overcoming this mental barrier and working to increase the distance the patient can walk before they begin to experience claudication. 

Regular exercise is also imperative for treatment because it helps prevent complications that occur as a result of poor circulation and artery occlusion. These complications gangrene, foot ulcers, and even limb amputation. Specialized rehabilitation programs can create an individualized and specific supervised exercise routine for peripheral vascular disease patients that can help them increase the duration of their mobility before claudication onset.

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