Understanding PVD and PAD

Peripheral Vascular Disease and Peripheral Arterial Disease

Although both the conditions of PVD and PAD may be similar there are some major differences between the two. 

What is PVD?

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a broad term that refers to any condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart, which includes arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. PVD reduces blood flow to the legs, feet, and arms. 

Symptoms of PVD:
  • Intermittent pain (claudication), which may feel like cramps (usually in the legs)
  • Worsening pain during exercise (usually in the legs)
  • Easing of pain during rest (usually in the legs)
  • Coldness of the affected body part
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscular weakness
  • Blue or purple tinge to the skin
  • Wounds that won’t heal 
  • Blackened areas of skin or skin loss (gangrene).
What is PAD?

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition in which the arteries in the legs are narrowed causing decreased blood flow. This condition is common and may cause the extremities of the body pain. 

Peripheral artery disease is often caused by a buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) on artery walls. This process is called atherosclerosis. This affects arteries throughout the body. When it occurs in the arteries supplying blood to the limbs, it causes peripheral artery disease.

While many people who have PAD have little to no symptoms. Some may have pain within the legs while walking.

Symptoms of PAD:
  • Coldness in the lower leg or foot
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • No pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet
  • Painful cramping in one or both of the legs after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • Skin color changes on the legs
  • Slower growth of the toenails
  • Sores on the toes, feet or legs that won’t heal
  • Pain when using the arms, such as aching and cramping when doing manual tasks
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hair loss or slower hair growth on the legs