Peripheral Vascular Disease

  1. Definition of "peripheral vascular disease."


    1. It is a diminished blood supply to the lower extremities, resulting in lack of oxygen and nutrients to the lower extremities.

    2. It can be caused by heart failure or obstructed blood vessels.


  1. Signs and symptoms of peripheral vascular disease.


  1. Arterial insufficiency:

  1. Sharp pain, which increases after exercise.

  2. Cool, pale skin.

  3. Absent or diminished pulses in legs and feet.

  4. Reddish-blue color of skin.

  5. Delayed healing.

  1. Aching, cramping-type pain.

  2. Edema.

  3. Mottled and pigmented skin.

  4. Ulcers close to ankle.


  1. Possible precipitating factors and appropriate measures to decrease risk of peripheral vascular disease.



  1. Avoid smoking.

  2. Avoid constrictive clothing.

  3. Never cross legs.

  4. Avoid letting lower extremities get cold.

  5. Avoid long periods of sitting or standing.

  1. Factors: Sedentary life-style


  1. Exercise as ordered by physician to promote circulation.

  1. Factors: Poor nutrition.


  1. Eat a well-balanced diet. (Provide "Daily Food Guide" handout.)

  1. Factors: Not taking medication or taking it incorrectly.


  1. Take medication as ordered. (Provide medication handout as appropriate.)

  1. Factors: Inadequate hygiene


  1. Wash feet carefully each day and pat dry.

  2. Wear clean cotton socks daily.

  1. Factors: Injury to lower extremities


  1. Never go barefooted.

  2. Cut toenails carefully straight across after soaking them for ten minutes.

  3. Wear good-fitting shoes.

  4. Avoid scratching lower extremities.

  5. See a podiatrist for corns, callouses, ingrown toenails, etc.


  1. Possible complications of peripheral vascular disease.