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Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a chronic condition that affects blood vessels outside of the heart. Symptoms and conditions related to PVD include peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis, varicose veins, non-healing wounds and other conditions that over time can result in heart disease and stroke.
PVD is caused by arteriosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries." This problem occurs when fatty material (plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower. The walls of the arteries also become stiffer and cannot widen (dilate) to allow greater blood flow when needed. As a result, when the muscles of your legs are working harder (such as during exercise or walking) they cannot get enough blood and oxygen. Eventually, there may not be enough blood and oxygen, even when the muscles are resting.
The following risk factors can increase the risk of developing PVD/PAD:
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