Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment Program: Diagnosis & Tests Menu

How is it diagnosed?

In order to confirm diagnosis, the physician uses a combination of physical examination and testing. Approximately half of the patients with peripheral vascular disease are symptom free in the early stages of disease. However, the most common first symptom reported is pain in the thigh, buttocks, or calf when walking. This occurs due to the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the tissue due to a narrowing or blockage in the blood vessels. In the early stages of disease, this pain will be relieved at rest, but once the disease progresses the pain will occur at rest as well. Additional signs and symptoms may include:

  • Cool/cold feet to the touch
  • Burning or aching pain in the legs while lying flat, that is relieved with sitting; often occurs in the toes at night
  • Loss of pulse in the legs and/or feet
  • Brittle, thin shiny skin and loss of hair on the lower legs and feet
  • Non-healing wounds or ulcers over pressure points such as the heels or ankles
  • Gangrene: darkened tissue that is dead due to lack of blood flow
  • Loss of muscle or fatty tissue
  • Impotence
  • Numbness, weakness, or heaviness in muscles
  • Restricted mobility
  • Thickened, opaque toenails
  • Reddish-blue discoloration of the extremities
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This information is provided by Vascular Health Clinics and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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