Peripheral Vascular Disease

Medical Intel from MedStar Washington Hospital Center

The Silent Killer: Peripheral Vascular Disease

Between 8 and 12 million people in the United States have peripheral vascular disease (PVD), according to the National Institutes of Health, but many are unaware that they are at risk. Even when they experience the classic symptom—leg pain or cramping—people often attribute it to aging and do not seek treatment.

This potentially serious but treatable circulation problem occurs when the vessels that supply blood flow to the legs are narrowed due to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) inside the vessel walls. Left untreated, it carries significant risk for heart attack, stroke or even loss of a limb.

“A lot of people may be experiencing leg pain and not know the cause of it,” explains Dr. Woo. “If you have any concerns, it is important to talk to your doctor or make an appointment to see a vascular specialist. Without treatment, severe PVD can lead to worsening conditions, including dead tissue, gangrene and even possible amputation of a limb.”

Common symptoms of peripheral vascular disease:

  • Change in color or temperature of a limb
  • Pain in the legs when walking or at rest
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • A new, long-lasting sore in the foot or leg
  • Thickened, opaque toenails

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, schedule an appointment with our specialists.

855-546-2040

As heard on WTOP Radio:

Edward Y. Woo, MD

Edward Y. Woo, MD
Director, MedStar Regional Vascular Program

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, call 855-546-2040.

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