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Peripheral Vascular Disease vs. Peripheral Arterial Disease

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

In the world of blood and blood vessels, two diseases are often confusing. They are Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Imagine your body is a busy highway system, and your blood vessels are the roads. PVD and PAD are roadblocks on that network, but they affect different sections.

PVD is a broad term. It refers to any problems with blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It’s similar to signs of wear and tear on the roads in your neighborhood. On the other hand, PAD is a particular type of PVD. It resembles a traffic jam on one of these roads. It is often caused by a narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to your extremities, most commonly your legs.

Understanding the difference between PVD and PAD is critical. So, let’s delve into the world of PVD and PAD to uncover their unique characteristics and how they affect your health.

Definition of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), in simple terms, is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of your heart and brain. These blood vessels are like the highways and byways of your body, carrying blood to and from your limbs and organs.

When these blood vessels become narrowed, blocked, or damaged, PVD can occur. It is similar to when there are potholes, traffic jams, or congestion on the road. It can lead to impaired blood flow, causing pain, cramping, and even ulcers in the legs and feet.

The leading causes of peripheral vascular disease vs peripheral arterial disease are often accumulating fatty deposits, called plaques, in the arteries. Think of this plaque as like the debris that clogs the pipes in your home.

PVD can be a severe condition, and it’s essential to manage it. This way, you can prevent complications such as poor wound healing or amputation. Therefore, keeping your home clean and healthy is a vital part of maintaining good health.

Definition of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a particular type of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). It affects the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the extremities, usually the legs. Imagine these arteries as pipes that carry water to a garden hose.

With PAD, these arteries can become clogged with fatty deposits, similar to how a kitchen sink pipe can become clogged with grease. This blockage restricts blood flow to the legs, similar to the way a kink in a garden hose restricts the flow of water.

Reduced blood flow can cause pain, cramping, and leg fatigue, especially with exercise. It is similar to muscle pain with exercise.

PAD can lead to more severe problems as well. These can be non-healing ulcers or, in extreme cases, the need for amputation. Therefore, it is imperative to monitor and treat PAD to keep your feet healthy and avoid these complications.

diagrammatic representation of the human circulatory system on a black background

Key Differences between PVD and PAD

Let’s wear our detective hats and explore the intriguing world of PVD and PAD. As we’ve said before, these two diseases may seem like siblings. But they are more like cousins with different characteristics.

We invite you to identify the key differences that set them apart. RTW is a broad concept. It is like a treasure chest filled with various vascular problems beyond the heart and brain. In comparison, PAD is a special type of PVD. It is a shiny gem centered on the blood highways of the leg.

It’s time to delve deeper into their unique characteristics to understand better how they affect your health. So, follow us as we unravel the mysteries of peripheral vascular disease vs peripheral arterial disease.


The causes of peripheral vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease have unmistakable fingerprints. PVD is a bit like a mixed bag of reasons, often involving issues like blood vessel aging, inflammation, or even diabetes. It’s like a puzzle with many pieces.

On the other hand, the cause of PAD is more specific. It results from a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries that narrow the blood pathways. It is similar to a traffic jam on one road. This buildup is often caused by a disease called atherosclerosis.

Thus, while in PVD, various factors are the culprits. But in PAD, the main culprit is atherosclerosis. It makes this problem more like a one-sided problem. Understanding these causes helps in finding the right solutions to combat these diseases.


In terms of symptoms, PVD and PAD have differences. Several signs can accompany PVD. These can include leg pain, cramping, and sores that can appear in various places on the body. It feels like scattered pieces of a puzzle.

In contrast, the symptoms of PAD are more focused. First and foremost is pain or discomfort in the legs, often occurring when walking. The narrowed arteries cannot supply the legs with enough blood. This results in specific pain, similar to how a traffic obstacle creates congestion on only one street.

It is essential to make a diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease and peripheral artery disease early. Recognizing these characteristic symptoms helps doctors pinpoint the problem. The doctor will be able to find the proper treatment.

Treatment Options

Approaches to treating peripheral vascular disease and peripheral artery disease differ due to their unique nature. Treatment of PVD is aimed at maintaining overall vascular health. It can include lifestyle changes, medications, and even procedures. These procedures help address specific vascular problems, similar to a toolkit for fixing various household problems.

In PAD, doctors focus on improving blood flow in the arteries of the legs. Lifestyle correction plays a significant role in this. It is essential to perform physical exercises and refuse to smoke. You can also take medications to reduce the formation of blood clots and lower cholesterol levels. Sometimes, procedures such as angioplasty and stent placement open narrowed arteries. It is similar to cleaning out a clogged drainpipe.

Understanding these different treatment strategies helps tailor treatment to the specific disease.

Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease

Diagnosing this disease is like solving a medical puzzle. It usually begins with a conversation between you and your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors such as smoking or diabetes.

To get a clearer picture, your doctor may perform a physical exam. They check your pulse, blood pressure, color, and temperature of your legs. It is similar to the work of an investigator looking for clues.

Further diagnosis of peripheral artery disease requires more findings. These are additional tests, such as determining the ankle-brachial index (ABI). It involves the doctor comparing blood pressure readings at the hands and ankles. It allows you to determine if the blood flow in your legs is low.

Sometimes, doctors perform more complex tests such as ultrasound or angiography. It provides a detailed view of the arteries. It is like using a magnifying glass to find a missing puzzle piece. It helps the doctor confirm whether you have PAD.

Diagnosis of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Diagnosing peripheral vascular disease is like putting together a medical puzzle. The process begins with an interview with your doctor, during which they will ask you questions. The doctor may then perform a physical exam.

As with PAD, the doctor may request additional tests. For example, the doctor may discover your ankle-brachial index (ABI). This test compares blood pressure at the hands and ankles. It is how they check to see if blood flow in the legs is reduced.

In some cases, more detailed tests diagnose peripheral vascular disease. It can be ultrasound or angiography. These will take a closer look at the blood vessels. It will help your doctor piece together the mosaic to confirm that you have PVD.

Two blood vessels with red blood cells

How to Differentiate Between PVD and PAD

Distinguishing PVD from PAD is like distinguishing between two similar-looking fruits. You have to look at localization and symptoms to tell the difference.

The difference between PVD and PAD is that PVD covers a wider range. It affects blood vessels throughout the body. It can lead to problems in a variety of areas. In contrast, PAD is more specific. It affects arteries, mainly in the legs, and causes leg pain on exertion.

The key is where it hurts and when it hurts. The symptoms of PAD can manifest in different parts of the body. Whereas in PAD, the legs usually hurt, especially when walking. By paying attention to these factors, you can tell whether you have PVD or PAD, like distinguishing apples from oranges.


If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms related to Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), don’t wait. Your health is precious, and early detection is the key to effective treatment. Take action today and book an appointment at Lone Star Neurology Clinic. Our experienced doctors are here to help you on your journey to better health. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference. Don’t delay – call now and take control of your well-being. Your future self will thank you for making that decision. 


What is the main difference between PVD and PAD?

PVD affects arteries and veins throughout the body, while PAD affects arterial blood flow in the extremities.

Can lifestyle changes prevent PVD and PAD?

Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can help prevent and manage PVD and PAD.

How are PVD and PAD diagnosed?

Diagnosis includes physical examination, imaging, and blood pressure measurement in the affected limbs for both PVD and PAD.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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