When you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease in a leg or a foot (or in an arm or a hand), see your health care provider for an evaluation.
Generally, peripheral vascular disease is not an emergency. On the other hand, it should not be ignored.
If you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease along with any of the following, go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Do not try to "wait it out" at home. Do not try to drive yourself. Call 911 right away for emergency medical transport.
Your health care provider will recommend ways that you can reduce your risk factors for atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease. Not all risk factors can be changed, but most can be reduced. Reducing these risk factors can not only prevent your disease from getting worse but can also actually reverse your symptoms
Follow the recommendations of your health care provider for risk factor reduction. If he or she recommends medication, take the medication as directed. Report changes in your symptoms and any side effects you experience.
The best way to prevent peripheral vascular disease is to reduce your risk factors. You cannot do anything about some of the risk factors, such as age and family history. Other risk factors are under your control.
Smoking is a very strong risk factor for developing peripheral vascular disease and can significantly worsen the disease, especially in diabetics. Quitting smoking can reduce the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease and lower your chance that the disease will get worse.
If untreated, peripheral vascular disease can develop complications:
People with peripheral vascular disease are at higher-than-normal risk of
heart attack and
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