Like coronary angioplasty, peripheral angioplasty treats arterial blockage and narrowing through the insertion of a small balloon. When this procedure is performed on major arteries other than the coronary artery, it is known as peripheral angioplasty. It is often used to treat peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which affects more than two million people in the United States. PVD is caused by atherosclerosis, which is a process where fat, cholesterol and calcium build up on the walls of the arteries, reducing the proper flow of blood to essential parts of the body such as the brain, heart and lungs. Peripheral angioplasty can help to prevent further complications such as claudication (severe cramps when walking, caused by PVD affecting the legs), stroke and some cases of high blood pressure.