Peripheral vascular disease. Diagnosing and treating the 3 most common peripheral vasculopathies.
A common sign of generalized atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) occurs as a result of arterial narrowing or obstruction that restricts blood flow to distal tissues. Prevalence of PVD ranges from 3% in patients age > 55, to 11% in patients age > 65, to 20% in those age 75 and older. Cerebrovascular/carotid disease, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and peripheral arterial occlusive disease are the most common peripheral vasculopathies seen by primary care physicians. All require aggressive medical management to prevent potentially serious complications and may require referral to vascular surgeons for evaluation. Prevention remains the best therapy.
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