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Peripheral Vascular Disease

When the blood in your body is not circulating correctly, it can make even the simplest task, such as walking, painful. At Kettering Health Network, we provide comprehensive care for diagnosing and treating all stages of peripheral vascular disease. Our compassionate caregivers are devoted to getting you back on your feet and doing the things you love.

Peripheral vascular diseases (PVD) are disorders that affect blood vessels outside of the heart and brain and their circulation. This disease affects blood vessels outside of the heart including veins, lymphatic vessels and arteries. It is caused by narrowing, blockage, or spasms in blood vessels that are distant from the heart. As the plaque grows, clots may develop that further narrows the vessel which can eventually become obstructed. Tissues that are directly connected and supplied by these vessels may not get enough blood flow to function properly. Arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels and organs located below your stomach can all be affected, but the legs and feet are the most commonly affected.

Image of a narrowing blood vessels associated with peripheral vascular disease

Types of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease of the arteries:
  • Atherosclerosis - can affect arteries anywhere in the body and is the most common cause of PVD, due to accumulation and build-up of plaque on the vessel walls. This build-up creates a thickening of the vessel wall which reduces elasticity and causes the artery to become blocked. This blockage decreases blood flow which leads to pain and other symptoms.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) - a type of PVD that only affects the arteries which provide the blood flow to the extremities.
Peripheral Vascular Disease of the veins:
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - a blood clot occurring in the veins of the leg that can potentially break loose and move to the lungs.
  • Thrombophlebitis - a blood clot in an irritated or inflamed vein causing the leg or arm to present with pain, swelling, tenderness and redness.
  • Varicose veins - caused by underlying venous disease creating dilated and twisted veins. Varicose veins can cause burning and aching.
  • Venous insufficiency - inadequate venous blood flow from the legs to the heart due to damaged venous valves in the leg veins. Legs and ankles become swollen and painful which also can lead to leg ulcers and open sores on the legs.

  • Immobilization
  • Cold temperatures
  • Temperature
  • Emotional Stress
  • operating vibrating machinery or tools
  • Smoking
  • injury to extremities
  • muscles or ligaments with abnormal structures
  • infection
  • coronary artery disease

Risk Factors
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • High cholesterol
  • Age considerations
  • Genetics