What is peripheral vascular disease?
As someone ages, they are at higher risk of developing what is known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Basically, plaque builds up on the inner walls of your arteries, when low-density lipoproteins, the bad type of cholesterol referred to as LDL invades the artery wall. Muscle cells in the wall of the artery overgrow and fat and calcium start to build up within these irregular spaces. Bleeding into the artery wall can also occur resulting in formation of a clot, which narrows the opening of the blood vessel even further.
There are many factors that can contribute to putting someone at risk of developing peripheral vascular disease:
- Age greater than 50
- Male gender
- Diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance
- Postmenopausal women
- Family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or peripheral vascular disease
- Coronary artery disease or heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Obesity or physical inactivity
- Smoking or use of tobacco products