Submitted by Baylor McKinney
Think plaque buildup only affects the heart? Think again.
You know about heart disease—how it’s a product of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and how it can lead to a heart attack. But how much do you know about peripheral vascular disease, or PVD? The answer is more than you think.
“PVD is atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries, that affects blood vessels outside the heart,” says W. Todd Gray, DO, an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at McKinney. It’s the same disease process as heart
disease, it’s just occurring in other areas of the body.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone at risk for heart disease is also
at risk for PVD. Risk factors include:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Smoking or history of smoking
• Family history of coronary artery disease or PVD
And risk is cumulative. In other words, the more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to have PVD. But having no risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. That’s why you should alert your doctor if you have any symptoms, particularly pain in your legs when you walk that goes away with rest.
Screening also is available. Talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you. “Up to 60 percent of people with known coronary disease have PVD and should be screened,” Dr. Gray says.
As with heart disease, most cases of PVD are treatable or even avoidable with lifestyle modification. The first and most important step is to quit smoking. Next, be physically active. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes of exercise five days a week or more. Eating a healthy, plant-based diet and taking medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as necessary,
also are key.
If a blockage occurs, you may need to undergo a minimally invasive procedure such as angioplasty, stent placement or clot removal. In the event these procedures are not possible, bypass surgery may be required.
Do You Have PVD?
To find a vascular surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor McKinney, visit BaylorHealth.com/McKinneyHeart or call 1.800.4BAYLOR.
About Baylor Medical Center at McKinney
Located at the northwest corner of Highway 380 and Lake Forest Drive, Baylor McKinney features a 95-bed, full-service hospital and surrounding medical office campus. Hospital services include heart and vascular, cancer, imaging, obstetrics and gynecology, level III NICU with private suites, digestive diseases, orthopedics, general surgery, neurology, internal medicine, emergency care, and outpatient services. For information visit BaylorHealth.com/McKinney. Call 1.800.4Baylor to find a physician.
About Baylor Health Care System
Baylor Health Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based supporting organization providing services to a network of acute care hospitals and related health care entities that provide patient care, medical education, research and community service. Baylor recorded more than 2.8 million patient encounters, $4.1 billion in total operating revenue, $5.3 billion in total assets and $502 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2011 (as reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services). Baylor’s network of more than 300 access points includes 30 owned/operated/ ventured/affiliated hospitals; joint ventured ambulatory surgical centers; satellite outpatient locations; senior centers and more than 190 HealthTexas Provider Network physician clinics.