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What's the difference between PAD and PVD?

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) are both types of cardiovascular diseases that deal specifically with the legs. While they both come from the same root issue — clogged blood vessels — they can have very different symptoms and effects on the body.


PAD is when the arteries in your legs become restricted due to arterial plaque. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. PVD is similar in that it occurs when the veins in your legs become clogged. Veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to your heart to be reused.

To help you out, here is an infographic to show how to spot the different symptoms and risks of each.


PAD, PVD & You

The symptoms for these two vascular diseases are different enough that you should be able to get a good idea of what you may have. With that being said, you should always get evaluated by a doctor if you think you’ve developed any kind of vascular disease.

Of the two, PAD is definitely more serious, since it means your feet, ankles, and toes aren’t getting the oxygen they need to function. That is why untreated PAD can ultimately lead to these limbs dying completely and needing to be amputated.

Of course, the health of your arteries and veins are very closely linked since they do very similar jobs and are physically located very close to one another in your body. If your arteries aren’t healthy, chances are your veins aren’t doing well either.

Are you at risk for PAD?

The good news is, it is very easy to assess the health of your arteries and your risk for PAD. A PAD screening using a noninvasive ultrasound machine to get a live look at any plaque that has built up in your arteries or veins. These tests are fast, easy, and accessible thanks to Life Line Screening. With mobile testing sites all over the country, you can schedule a PAD screening at a location near you. If the results are concerning, you can take them to your doctor to develop a treatment plan.