Peripheral vascular disease, knowing your risk factors

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

By: Lou Ann Nettekoven

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Leg cramps are a symptom of PVD


Arteries are an integral part of the body’s circulatory system. That’s why it’s important to protect them from disorders such as peripheral vascular disease (PVD).


PVD is part of a circulatory system condition that adversely affects the arteries resulting in narrowed, blocked or weakened arteries. It is the most common artery disease. About 8.5 million people in the United States have the disease.


The key to avoiding PVD is understanding one’s risk, says Dr. Karanjot Sundlass of The Vascular Specialists at Aurora BayCare. He’s a board-certified interventional radiologist.


“Complications from PVD, if left untreated or undiagnosed, can be life-threatening,” he says. “That’s why it’s important to understand and minimize your risk for developing PVD. Work closely with your primary care provider to understand your risk for developing PVD.”


The most common cause of PVD is the buildup of plaque in the arteries, Sundlass says. This obstructs, narrows and can weaken artery walls, leading to PVD.


Symptoms of PVD occur slowly and in the legs. Symptoms include:

  • Leg cramps with activity
  • Slow-healing wounds and ulcers
  • Pain in your feet at night

Those at higher risk of developing the disorder include but aren’t limited to:

  • People over the age of 65
  • Smokers
  • People with high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • People with a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease

“PVD isn’t a normal part of aging, as many people presume,” Sundlass says. “It is a condition that, in many cases, can be prevented or at least managed with simple lifestyle changes and in other cases, treated using surgical and minimally-invasive solutions.


“If you have PVD, it is important to talk to your doctor,” Sundlass says. “Your primary care physician can recommend a personalized treatment plan – which may include medication or surgical treatment – to help you manage the condition and improve your overall health and well-being.”


Dr. Karanjot Sundlass is an interventional radiologist with The Vascular Specialists at Aurora BayCare. He treats patients at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. Call 920-288-4848 or request an appointment online.

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