The key difference between PAD and venous insufficiency is that PAD is a disease that affects the arteries in the body, while venous insufficiency is a disease that affects the veins in the body.
PAD (peripheral artery disease) and venous insufficiency are two diseases that affect blood vessels and prevent the body from getting enough oxygen-rich blood the body needs. Both these diseases cause unintended complications. Therefore, they are needed to be managed by qualified medical professionals immediately.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is PAD
3. What is Venous Insufficiency
4. Similarities – PAD and Venous Insufficiency
5. PAD vs. Venous Insufficiency in Tabular Form
6. Summary – PAD vs. Venous Insufficiency
What is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is due to plaque build-up in leg arteries. This blocks the arteries, especially in the toes and feet, which eventually causes damage and death to the tissues below the blockage. Moreover, symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include burning or aching pain in the feet and toes, especially at night, cool skin on the feet, redness or other colour changes in the skin, frequent skin and soft tissue infections in the feet or legs, and toe and foot sores that do not heal. The complications of PAD include ischemia or gangrene, amputation, infection, ulceration, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and erectile dysfunction.
Peripheral artery disease is diagnosed through physical examination, ankle-brachial index (ABI), pulse volume recording (PVR), vascular ultrasound, and angiogram. Furthermore, treatment options for peripheral artery disease may include lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, managing other health conditions, keeping stress levels low through exercise and yoga, practicing foot and skin care, medicines like antihypertensive medications, statins, diabetic medications, antiplatelet medications such as aspirin or clopidogrel, cilostazol to improve walking and surgeries like angioplasty, stents, peripheral artery bypass surgery, and atherectomy.
What is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a blood vessel disease that occurs when leg veins do not allow blood to flow back up to the heart again. Normally, valves in the leg veins allow blood to flow toward the heart. However, when these valves do not work, the blood cannot flow back. Ultimately, this leads to blood pooling in the legs. The symptoms of this condition may include pain and heaviness in the leg, swelling in the affected leg, cramps in the leg, skin changes (darkened, hard, or leathery-looking skin on the affected legs), itchy skin, varicose veins, having strong urges to move the legs to relieve uncomfortable feelings, leg ulcers, and disabling. The causes of this condition include being overweight, being pregnant, having a family history, damage to the leg due to injury, surgery, or earlier blood clots, high blood pressure, smoking, lack of exercise, a blood clot in a deep vein and swelling, and inflammation of a vein normally close to the skin.
Venous insufficiency can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, and imaging test known as Duplex ultrasound. Furthermore, treatment options for venous insufficiency may include improving blood flow in the leg veins by keeping the legs raised, medicines that increase blood flow through the vessels along with compression therapy to help heal leg ulcers (aspirin for leg ulcers), endovenous laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation (RFA), sclerotherapy, and surgery.
What are the Similarities Between PAD and Venous Insufficiency?
- PAD and venous insufficiency both affect blood vessels in the body.
- Both diseases can cause life-threatening complications.
- They can be diagnosed through physical examination and imaging testing.
What is the Difference Between PAD and Venous Insufficiency?
PAD is a disease that affects the arteries in the body, while venous insufficiency is a disease that affects the veins in the body. Thus, this is the key difference between PAD and venous insufficiency. Furthermore, peripheral artery disease is caused by plaque build-up in the arteries. On the other hand, venous insufficiency is caused by being overweight, being pregnant, family history, damage to the leg due to injury, surgery, or earlier blood clots, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, a blood clot in a deep vein and swelling and inflammation of a vein normally close to the skin.
The infographic below presents the differences between PAD and venous insufficiency in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – PAD vs. Venous Insufficiency
Vascular diseases are conditions that affect the circulatory system or the system of blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and lymph vessels. PAD and venous insufficiency are two different vascular diseases. Peripheral artery disease causes narrowing of the peripheral arteries that usually carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body, while venous insufficiency causes a problem in blood flow from the veins of the legs that bring blood back to the heart. So, this summarizes the difference between PAD and venous insufficiency.
1. “Peripheral artery disease.133,jpg” By Intermedichbo – Dr Milorad Dimić, Serbia – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “VenousInsufficiency-back-a” By James Heilman, MD – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia