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Peripheral Vascular Disease

About Your Care and Condition

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is often characterized by a narrowing of the vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. The most common cause is atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque inside the artery wall). Plaque reduces the amount of blood flow to the limbs and decreases the oxygen and nutrients available to the tissue. Clots may form on the artery walls, decreasing the inner size of the vessel and potentially blocking off major arteries. Organs supplied by these vessels, such as the brain, heart and legs, may not receive adequate blood flow for ordinary function. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected.