Peripheral Venous Disease (PVD)
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Peripheral venous disease is a term describing damage, defects or blockage in the veins that carry blood from the hands and feet to the heart. Peripheral venous disease can occur almost anywhere in the body but is mostly seen in the arms and legs.
The most common cause of peripheral venous disease is a blood clot that blocks a vein. A clot forms when vein walls become weak and blood flow slows. When the clot is in a vein deep within the body, it is called deep vein thrombosis. When the clot is in a vein closer to the skin, it is called superficial thrombophlebitis.
Vein walls can become weak because of:
- A long period of bed rest or inactivity
- Major surgery
- Being overweight
- Smoking, some cancers, and the use of birth control pills may also cause walls of the vein to become weak.
The most common symptom of peripheral venous disease is pain where the blood clot is located. You may also feel a warm area or notice an area of redness or swelling over the affected vein.
Peripheral venous disease is diagnosed after a physical examination that includes a check of your blood pressure and heart. Your doctor can usually tell if you have a blood clot. However, you may have to undergo additional tests, including:
- Doppler ultrasound imaging
- VQ Scan, a test used to detect a blood clot in the lungs
Sometimes, peripheral venous disease clears up by itself. Home treatment—such as exercising, bandaging or elevating the affected area, or wearing special compression stockings—can help ease the condition.
Surgery may be needed if the blood clot is deep in the vein.
Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your particular condition.