In healthy adults, blood flows freely through veins and arteries like a stream. However, when that stream gets gunked up, blood flow can be restricted. Peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, is a systemic disorder that involves the narrowing of peripheral blood vessels (vessels situated away from the heart or the brain) as a result of arteriosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque. This can happen with veins or arteries.
When plaque accumulates, it may result in blood clots and dangerously limit the amount of oxygen that circulates to the arms and legs. The condition often causes pain and discomfort while walking. If peripheral vascular disease goes untreated, there is a chance that it may progress into critical limb ischemia, a severe stage of PVD that can result in the loss of an affected limb. But if caught in its early stages, peripheral vascular disease is a treatable and reversible disease.