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Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)

Fatty buildup on the walls of arteries can block the flow of blood to the legs, arms, stomach and kidneys, and lead to gangrene and amputation of limbs. PVD also has been linked to a greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

Diagnostics to detect peripheral vascular disease include:

Ultrasound — Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the heart and blood vessels.

Magnetic resonance angiogram — A magnetic field and radio wave technology create images of the blood vessels.

Computerized tomography (CT) — A scan is taken of your body using computer-processed X-rays generated in “slices” for image accuracy.

Procedures to treat peripheral vascular disease include:

Medications — Physicians may prescribe certain drugs to successfully reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Lifestyle changes — Reducing the amount of fat and sugar in the diet can lower unhealthy levels of low- density lipoproteins in the blood stream that can cause atherosclerosis. Exercise has also been proven to be effective in lowering cholesterol.

Angioplasty — This minimally invasive, interventional procedure can eliminate a blockage in an artery through a catheter. A balloon is inflated to move the cholesterol from its position in the artery and eliminate the risk it is causing to the flow of blood to the heart.

Stenting — A stent is a mesh tube-like device that is usually used after angioplasty. It is used to support or hold open the area in which there has been narrowing. The tube may or may not be coated in a medication. These stents are called “drug-eluted” stents. The medication is added to keep the stented area from narrowing again over time.