Fighting Peripheral Artery Disease: Lifestyle Changes & Treatment

Lifestyle Changes to Avoid PAD
Smoking and diabetes are among the most significant risk factors for developing PAD. Smokers should quit smoking and try to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Management of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol with medication and diet can help with disease progression and other cardiovascular risks. Regular exercise for those with claudication helps open alternative small vessels to improve oxygen levels. This may improve endurance for walking. Treadmill exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular function and quality of life. Exercise programs can increase pain-free walking time and walking distance for people with PAD.

Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease
Certain medications like cilostazol and pentoxifylline have been used to treat symptoms of PAD. These medications have been proven effective for improving some symptoms of PAD. Pain and/or cramping caused by claudication due to peripheral artery disease are among them. Surgery may be needed to bring relief to some patients suffering with PAD. A vascular or endovascular surgeon can perform a surgical technique called revascularization to restore blood flow to the affected arteries. The surgical method depends on the severity of the blockage and other factors. The presence of a non-healing wound or infection could lead to gangrene and possible amputation.
Other operations include:
• Angioplasties for single lesions in large arteries
• Atherectomies for plaque removal
• Vascular bypass grafting to redirect blood flow
• Thrombolysis and thrombectomy to remove blood clots

When to See a Doctor
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have leg pain or any other symptoms of peripheral artery disease. Absent symptoms, screening for PAD is still recommended for people with risk factors like high blood pressure or obesity or those over age 50 with a history of smoking or diabetes. Screening is also encouraged for anyone over age 65. Schedule an appointment with a vascular surgeon at Total Vein Care to screen for PAD. (

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