Got Cold Feet? It May Be Much More Than Frigid Temps

February 15, 2011 2:00 PM with Dr. Navyash Gupta

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Constant cold feet and leg pain while exercising could signal Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), a build-up of plaque in the arteries outside your heart that reduces the flow of blood to your extremities. As a result, some parts of your body don’t get the oxygen they need, increasing your chance of having a stroke or losing a limb. Join NavYash Gupta, MD, Division Chief of Vascular Surgery, to learn more about PVD and how you can avoid this silent killer.

Catherine (Moderator) - 1:55 PM:
Welcome! Today’s chat: Got cold feet? It may be much more than frigid temps will begin shortly. Please start submitting your questions and Dr. Navyash Gupta will begin answering them as soon as we get started. While you are waiting for the chat to begin, feel free to visit the Cardiovascular Care Center to obtain more information about Peripheral Vascular Disease.

Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore) - 2:10 PM:
Good afternoon, my name is NavYash Gupta, MD and I am chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at NorthShore. Vascular Surgery is the area of Medicine that deals with blockages, plaque build up, weakening, and aneurysms of blood vessels. My specific interets include carotid artery blockage, thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms, lower extremity stenting and bypasses, hemodialysis access and venous work.

Catherine (Moderator) - 2:24 PM:
More information can also be found on our Vascular Surgery section.

  Lisa (Evanston, IL) - 2:28 PM:
I have diabetes, does that make me at more risk for PVD? Yes. Risk factors for developing vascular disease or plaque include Diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. Genetics also plays a signficant role.
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. Risk factors for developing vascular disease or plaque include Diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. Genetics also plays a signficant role.

  Steve (Skokie, IL) - 2:29 PM:
Can PVD reoccur after treatment?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. Usually plaque builds up over a long time (years), but even after treatment, as long as you have the risk factors for developing plaque, you can get recurrent disease. Also, blockages can build up in bypasses and stents and this can be new plaque or "scar" tissue.

  Stephanie (Northbrook, IL) - 2:31 PM:
My mom has pvd and there is a possibility that an angioplasty is the next step. What are the risks associated with an angioplasty?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Stephanie, it depends on where the plaque is and how extensive it is. We are treating more and more blockages in blood vessels with angioplasty and stenting - minimally invasive techniques.

  Lisa (Evanston, IL) - 2:32 PM:
What precautions can i take to prevent it, if i do have diabetes?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
The best way to prevent the complications related to diabetes is to keep you blood sugar under control and to make sure that your Primary care physician is managing all the other potential risk factors such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol. It is also improtant that you don't smoke as the combination of diabetes and smoking accelerates the development of plaque.

  David (Chicago, IL) - 2:34 PM:
What can I do to avoid artery blockages?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
When you are younger, you should lead a healthy life style - exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and eat a helathy diet that does not include too much red meat and fat. As you get older, it is important that your primary care physician manage any risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

  John (Willmette, IL) - 2:36 PM:
What kinds of tests are done to diagnose PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
The first thing is usually a thorough physical exam by a Vascular specialist, such as a vascular surgeon. If you are having any specific symptoms, or if there is something abnormal on Physical exam, we can do further testing such as Duplex or ultrasound imaging, MRA, CT scans, or sometimes angiography. People with aortic aneurysms often do not know that they have one, and there may be no symptoms - in this case a CT scanor ultrasound can make the diagnosis.

  Steve (Skokie, IL) - 2:39 PM:
Do I need to change my diet if I have PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. You should eat a heart-healthy diet - avoid too much red meat, and avoid foods high in cholesterol and fat.

  Steve (Skokie, IL) - 2:41 PM:
Is there a difference between PVD and PAD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
They are essentially the same thing: PVD is a more general term - Peripheral Vascular Disease. PAD is Peripheral Arterial Disease

  Mike (Chicago, IL) - 2:42 PM:
Can PVD damage other parts of the body? I heard amputation is a risk.
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. PVD is the general term for Peripheral Vascular Disease. If you develop significant blockages in the blood vessels of the legs, and you do not get treatment in time, you could end up with enough damage to the tissue requiring an amputation.

  Stephanie (Northbrook, IL) - 2:44 PM:
Are there things that make PVD worse?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. Probably the biggest one that we can control is Smoking - this makes PVD worse. The other risk factors are Diabetes, elevated cholestrol, and hypertension.

  John (Willmette, IL) - 2:45 PM:
Will I need to go on a special exercise program if I have PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
John, some people have "claudication" or pain in the calf, thigh or buttock muscles when they walk. In some cases, participating in a supervised exercise program can help with this by helping to build up collateral blood flow (new pathways for blood around the blocked vessels). It depends on how bad your symptoms are.

  Lisa (Evanston, IL) - 2:47 PM:
How do I know which PVD treatment is best for me? Is there one that doctors prefer over others?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
The type of treatment depends on many factors including the location of the blockage, the extent of the blockage, your age and your other medical risk factors. In general, we are able to treat more and more blockages with minimally invasive techniques such as angioplasty and stenting. The Vascular specialist is the best person to evaluate for this and make recommendations.

  Steve (Skokie, IL) - 2:49 PM:
Are any of the diagnosis tests invasive?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes, some tests can be invasive such as Angiography where we enter a blood vessel with a needle and catheter and inject dye into the vessels to get a road map of the blockages. However, we generally start with non-invasive testing such as Ultrasound.

  Karen (Hinsdale, IL) - 2:51 PM:
Does family history increase one’s chance for PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. One of the bigest risk factors for developing PVD is Genetics, or family history. This is also true for the development of aortic aneurysms.

  John (Willmette, IL) - 2:52 PM:
How can someone avoid PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
By living a healthy lifestyle, avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise and control risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol

  David (Chicago, IL) - 2:54 PM:
What are the side affects of the various PVD treatments?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Side effects depend on the type of treatment as well as the location of the plaque and the nature of the plaque. In general, the side effects are less with minimally invasive endovascular techniques. There are side effects associated with surgery that are specific to the procedure.

Catherine (Moderator) - 2:54 PM:
Thank you everyone for your great participation, the chat will be ending in approximately 10 minutes. Please submit any final questions you have.

  Lisa (Evanston, IL) - 2:56 PM:
What causes PVD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Risk factors include Diabetes, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and smoking. Also, older people and people with a family history of PVD are more likely to get PVD.

  Kristina (Highland Park, IL) - 2:58 PM:
How will PVD impact my life?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
If you are young, you can avoid developing PVD by leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking. As you get older, your primary care physician will make sure your risk factors are controlled, and recommend treatment as necessary. People with PVD can get carotid artery blockage leading to strokes, aortic aneurysms, or blockage in the leg blood vessels with makes it hard to walk or leads to the development of ulcers.

  Lisa (Evanston, IL) - 3:00 PM:
What does PVD look like?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Essentially you develop plaque in the blood vessels that leads to blockages. But from a patient standpoint, you may develop symptoms such as a stroke or a TIA, or trouble walking.

  Nick (Chicago, IL) - 3:02 PM:
Is weight a factor when it comes to PAD?
Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore)
Yes. People who are overweight generally have higher levels of cholestrol and other risk factors that make it more likely to develop PAD

Catherine (Moderator) - 3:04 PM:
Thank you again for participating in our chat today. For more information please visit our Vascular Surgery pages.

Also, a transcript of this chat will be available shortly.

Dr. Navyash Gupta (NorthShore) - 3:05 PM:
Thank you for participating in this chat session on PAD. Please contact us in the Division of Vascular Surgery at 847-663-8050 if you have further questions or need to make an appointment.

This chat has ended.

Thank you very much for your participation.