PAD vs CVD: these serious conditions have similar symptoms. As a result, when you are experiencing leg pain, it can be difficult to know what’s causing your discomfort. That’s because both Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Chronic Venous Disease (CVD) can make your legs hurt. So, how can you tell the difference between these problems? Just keep reading for our handy guide!
What is Peripheral Artery Disease?
PAD is a condition in which your arteries harden because of plaque build-up on the walls. This hardening narrows your arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow through. And when this happens, you may experience symptoms in your legs, including: pain, numbness, or heaviness. These symptoms typically appear when you are active, and usually resolve when you rest.
PAD is a serious condition; it ups your risk for stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. Luckily, we can treat PAD with lifestyle changes and with minimally invasive interventions. When it comes to lifestyle, supervised exercise programs can help reduce your leg cramps and may also improve blood flow to your extremities. Choosing a healthy diet and breaking up with smoking can also improve PAD symptoms.
Then, when it comes to treating PAD, we’re here to help. Depending on the severity of your condition, we can offer Angioplasty, Stenting or Atherectomy for PAD. All of these options take a different approach to resolving PAD. But they have one thing in common: they allow you to avoid large surgical incisions. And they rarely require you to stay overnight in hospital.
Of course, before treating PAD, you must receive an accurate diagnosis. Which is why you have to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. Including CVD, or chronic venous disease.
What is Chronic Venous Disease?
Chronic Venous Disease is a way of describing conditions that develop when your veins aren’t functioning properly. These include varicose veins, ulcers, and edema. But, sometimes, venous disease shows up in less obvious ways. In fact, many symptoms of CVD are very similar to those associated with PAD. So, the question remains, how can you tell the difference between the two?
Ruling out PAD as a Diagnosis
Because PAD symptoms are so similar to those associated with CVD, it can be difficult to diagnose. But here’s the key factor to note when you talk to your doctor. When you have PAD, you will likely only experience symptoms like leg pain and heaviness when you are active. If you have Venous Disease, resting will likely not improve your symptoms. Also, when you have CVD, visible symptoms like spider veins will usually show up fairly quickly.
Finally, timing can be a major clue as well. With CVD, leg pain tends to show up at the end of a long day. Especially if you spent extended periods on your feet. But, with PAD, pain shows up day or night, and, as we mentioned, is typically tied to movement.
Of course, the easiest and best way to determine the cause of your leg pain is to see your vein specialist. But, clearly identifying your symptoms can help your doctor quickly reach a diagnosis. So, take note of your symptoms and make an appointment with our Houston vein specialists today to assess your PAD risk or book a diagnostic ultrasound to check for CVD.
Sources: American Venous Forum, Cardiovascular Institute of the South