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PAD Vs. Chronic Venous Insufficiency: Symptoms And Treatment

PAD Vs. Chronic Venous Insufficiency

There are many people in the world who are suffering from different diseases. But, when we talk about vascular health, PAD and CVI are more critical ones. For some people, PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency may be difficult to assess because both are vascular problems.

During these diseases, the blood vessels are affected, preventing your body from getting oxygen-rich blood. However, what makes these different are the different affected vessels. So, after reading this article, you’ll be able to clearly differentiate between the PAD and PVD.

Peripheral Venous Disease Vs Peripheral Arterial Disease

These diseases affect the peripheral structure of body parts like legs and feet. But, there are chances you may get confused about these two diseases because of some symptoms. So, before heading to the symptoms or treatments, it is necessary to know about PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

What Is PAD?

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition in which the arteries are unable to supply blood to body parts like the legs properly. It is usually because of the narrowing of arteries or blockage. Arteries have the main role of supplying oxygen-rich blood to different parts of the body.

A proper passage of the arteries is necessary to carry out the circulation process, but they become narrow, hardened, or blocked during Peripheral Arterial Disease. The other vital organs, like the kidneys, brain, and gut, can also be affected by this disease.

The most common reason for this to happen is the cholesterol deposits in the arteries. However, it is a serious vascular health condition that may higher the risks of other cardiovascular conditions. Moreover, about 80 million USA people of the age 40 or older are suffering from this disease.

What Is CVI?

It is a disease  in which veins are unable to supply blood back to the heart. The main function of the veins is to move blood from the legs to the heart by fighting gravity. Muscles of your legs squeeze the blood upward, and the valves prevent it from moving downward.

However, these valves can be damaged or stopped working, which causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency disease. However, in this condition, the legs started to swell because of the pooling of blood in the lower parts of the body. This disease can be caused by damage to any vein in the legs.

Moreover, about 150,000 patients are recognized to have this disease. If it is left untreated, it may become a venous ulcer, which is difficult to heal. Thus, you may be in a chronic situation, and in some cases, patients may have a fatal condition with this disease.

PAD Vs PVD Signs And Symptoms

PAD Vs PVD Signs And Symptoms

These diseases need to be treated on time, but you won’t see any symptoms at their onset. They may seem similar for both diseases, but you can differentiate by closely analyzing them. Thus, the following are the PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency symptoms you can expect in each disease.

PAD Symptoms

Most of the time, PAD lowers or blocks the blood flow to the legs, but in some conditions, it affects the flow in other parts, too. Depending on the location of the damaged artery, the symptoms can vary from person to person. These can also vary depending on the severity of the blockage in the arteries.

Many people show no symptoms while having PAD. At the same time, some may possess painful symptoms of suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease. These may include pain in the legs that disappear when they walk.

This condition is called intermittent claudication, which includes mild to severe pain. However, other symptoms include the following;

  • Leg pain
  • Cramps or aches while walking
  • Numbness or weakness in the leg
  • Slow growth of toenails or leg hair
  • Pale or discolored skin
  • One leg felt colder than the other
  • Slow healing of wounds or soreness
  • Toe or foot ulcer

If this disease is left untreated, you may develop worse symptoms, like you’ll feel pain in your leg even if you are resting. During this condition, you’ll be unable to walk and may even have infections. These infections can also spread to other body parts like bones or muscles.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency Symptoms

Many people think that varicose veins are a sign of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, which is not true. We agree that it is one of the signs people experience during this disease, but it’s not a consistent sign or symptom. Every person experiences different symptoms depending on how progressive the disease is.

Many people also confuse it with skin problems, but to know the disease, it is important to check its symptoms closely. There are many symptoms people experience in this disease apart from the varicose veins. These are as follows;

  • Aching in legs
  • Varicose veins
  • Itching in feet or legs
  • Swelling in the leg or ankle
  • The leathery skin of the legs
  • Heaviness in the legs
  • Ulcer near the ankle or on the legs
  • Brown colored skin
  • Cramping in legs, especially at night


If the symptoms are ignored and the disease is left untreated, capillaries will burst, causing more pressure in the legs. You can prevent such conditions by treating the disease at the onset of symptoms.

However, you may not develop all these symptoms in the beginning. It will start with one or two and continue to progress with time. Thus, it is necessary to treat the disease in the beginning.

PAD Vs PVD Causes

These diseases can cause serious and long-term issues for your vascular health. With these, you may have a chance of suffering from strokes or heart attacks. Mainly, family history is the root cause and provides more chances of having either PAD or PVD.

The most common reason why you’re suffering from PAD is atherosclerosis. It is a condition in which cholesterol deposits in your arteries. Other causes include limb injury, high radiation exposure, artery inflammation, etc. People with a family history of cardiovascular diseases, smoking habits, or high blood pressure are at more risk of having PAD.

On the other hand, the root cause of chronic venous insufficiency is damaged valves. While other PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency reasons or causes for having this disease are;

  • High blood pressure
  • Hormonal changes
  • Blood clots in veins
  • Leg injuries


Moreover, women, people with obesity, 50+ age, or smoking habits are at a greater risk of developing this disease. Thus, if you are one of them and see one or two symptoms, you must see a doctor to check if you are okay or not.

How To Diagnose PAD And PVD

If you are feeling like having PAD or PVD, the very first step is to see your doctor or healthcare. You need to provide information about your family, surgical, or medical history. Your healthcare will also ask you about the details of your symptoms.

The healthcare will take a look at your legs and feet to see the ulcer, swelling, and skin discoloration. However, if your provider thinks you possess a disease, they will diagnose the disease with the help of some tests.

If they feel it is PAD, they will continue with the following tests;

  • ABI test in which the blood pressure of the arms and legs is measured to see the drop-off.
  • Ultrasound test to see the blood flow or blockage.
  • Angiography in which a contrast dye is injected into the arteries to examine the blockages.

Moreover, if your provider feels like you may have Chronic Venous Insufficiency, they may take a special ultrasound scan to see how blood flows in the veins. In some cases, they may do other tests, too, like CT scans or MRIs.

How to diagnose pad and pvd

PAD Vs PVD Treatment

PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency can be better understood with the treatment options. As both are caused by different vessels, the treatment method is also different. The PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency treatment options available also depend on the severity of the disease.

If a person has PAD, the treatment is to prevent the patient from the worst symptoms and improve the current symptoms. It can be done by;

  • Quitting smoking
  • If you have any other medical issue causing PAD, the doctor will instruct you to have a regular checkup.
  • Walking strategy to improve the blood flow.
  • Medication
  • Angiography in which the blockages are open to improve the blood flow.
  • Bypass

Moreover, Chronic Venous Insufficiency can be treated as follows;

  • Medication
  • Keep active to help blood move back to the heart
  • Surgery to remove any issue in the veins
  • Minimally invasive procedures to improve blood flow
Preventions Of PAD And PVD

Preventions Of PAD And PVD

After knowing about PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency, you must be motivated to take some precautions in your routine. You can follow these preventive measures to avoid PAD;

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Have a fat and low-sugar diet plan
  • Ask your doctor how much exercise will be enough as a prevention for your body

If you are already suffering from heart disease, you must see a doctor and ask for preventive measures. Moreover, the following are the preventions from Chronic Venous Insufficiency;

  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Regular checkup


Understanding PAD vs Chronic Venous Insufficiency helps people know the clear difference between them, their treatment and symptoms. It is recommended that you see your healthcare provider if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

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Modern Heart and Vascular, a preventive cardiology medical practice, has several offices around Houston. We have locations in Humble, Cleveland, The Woodlands, Katy, and Livingston.

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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.

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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.

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