Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia

Timely and considerate care of the arterial and venous systems.

Peripheral Arterial (or Vascular) Disease (PAD or PVD)-Part 2

You can read Part 1 of this article here.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Family history of the disease
  • Age


  • Pain, fatigue, or muscle cramps in the legs or arms following an exercise or activity, such as walking or going up the stairs. Usually symptoms go away by stopping or resting.
  • Pain in legs with lying down that gets better when sitting up or dangling the legs off the side of the bed.
  • Numbness and/or weakness in legs or arms.
  • Color changes in the hands, fingers, feet, or toes.
  • Cold feet or hands.
  • Slowly healing wounds or ulcers on hands, fingers, feet, or toes.
  • Loss of hair or slowly growing hair on the arms or feet.
  • Absent or low pulses in the legs or arms.


Symptoms, as mentioned above, in addition to signs that can be found by your physician during a physical exam can lead to the diagnosis of PAD.  Your doctor might also order additional tests to help confirm the diagnosis.  Your doctor might order a physiologic test, a test that measures the functionality of your arteries, such as segmental pressures or ankle-brachial-indices (ABI’s).  The doctor might also order an imaging test such as an ultrasound, a CTA (Computed Tomography Angiography), or an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography).  These tests help determine the location and severity of the disease.

The presence of PAD might trigger your doctor to perform additional tests.  Think of the vascular system as a closed circuit, if one disease process is happening in one area, it might be happening in another area as well.  For example, if plaque is forming in the legs, it might be forming in the arteries of the heart as well.


Treatment of PAD depends on each patient and condition or severity of the disease.  The plan can range from conservative measures, such as life-style changes and exercise, medications, and medical interventions, such as angioplasty or surgery; or it could be a combination of either ones.  It is important to treat this condition because if left untreated, there is a risk of losing the affected limb.  Additionally, someone with PAD has a higher risk of having a heart attack and/or a stroke.


The information mentioned above is only for awareness and it does not substitute a medical advice by your healthcare provider.  If you suspect any of the signs and symptoms for PAD, it is important you talk with your doctor.


Vascular Associates of Norther Virginia, P.C.
Vascular Laboratory

Our vascular surgeons:
Robert S. Podolsky, M.D.
Avisesh Sahgal, M.D.

2 comments on “Peripheral Arterial (or Vascular) Disease (PAD or PVD)-Part 2

  1. Pingback: Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) | Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.

  2. Pingback: What is an Arterial Duplex? | Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.

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