Peripheral Vascular Disorders
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Peripheral vascular disorders (PVDs) are conditions where blood does not flow to your limbs as it should because of blocked blood vessels. The blockage is usually caused by atherosclerosis. This is when material, such as fat, sticks to the inside of your blood vessels and makes them narrow.
- Cholesterol medicine: This medicine helps decrease the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
- Antiplatelets help prevent blood clots. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Vasodilators: These medicines help blood vessels dilate (open wider) and increase your blood flow.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.
- Exercise: Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Walking is a low-impact way to exercise and increase your blood flow. Stop and rest if you have pain in your legs.
- Care for your feet: It is important to care for your feet when you have PVDs, especially if you also have diabetes. Look closely at your feet every day. Check for cracks or sores. Wash your feet daily with mild soap and dry them well. Do not walk barefoot in case you step on a hard or sharp object.
- Change your sleep position: You may have pain in your legs or feet when you sleep. Raise the head of your bed 4 inches, or use pillows to prop your upper body higher than your legs. This may help more blood go to your feet, decreasing pain.
- Protect and cushion your feet and hands: If you have ulcers on your feet, you may need to wear bandages with heel pads. You may also wear foam rubber booties. Hand or foot warmers may decrease pain in your hands or feet.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Ask how much you should weigh. Ask for help creating a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Manage your diabetes: Keep your blood sugar level in the correct range. Check your blood sugar level often. Ask if you should make changes to your diet, exercise, or medications.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your signs and symptoms get worse or do not get better, even after treatment.
- You have a sore or ulcer that is not healing or gets worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have pain in your legs that does not go away with rest.
- You have dark areas on the skin of your legs.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have chest pain that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain.
- You have chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or returns.
- You are nauseated and have trouble breathing.
- You have a cold sweat and feel lightheaded or dizzy.
- You have weakness or numbness on one side of your arm, leg, or face.
- You are confused and cannot speak clearly.
- You cannot see out of one or both of your eyes.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.