Peripheral Arterial Disease

How Is Peripheral Arterial Disease Treated?

Treatment for peripheral artery disease has three major goals. The first is to manage symptoms, such as leg pain, so that you can resume physical activities. The second is to stop the progression of atherosclerosis throughout your body to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The final goal is to improve your quality of life.

Treatments for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) include lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery or procedures.

Lifestyle Changes

Treatment often includes making long-lasting lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Quit smoking. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Lower blood pressure. This lifestyle change can help you avoid the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease.
  • Lower high blood cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol can delay or even reverse the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
  • Lower blood glucose levels if you have diabetes. You should request an A1C test to show how well you have controlled your blood sugar level over the past 3 months.
  • Be physically active. Talk with your doctor about taking part in a supervised exercise program appropriate for your condition. This type of program has been shown to reduce PAD symptoms.

Success in treatment of PAD is often measured by how far you can walk without pain. Proper exercise helps condition your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently.

  • Follow a healthy eating plan that’s low in total fat and salt. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as part of a heart healthy diet. [link to my plate]
  • If you’re overweight or obese, work with your doctor to create a reasonable weight-loss plan.

These same lifestyle changes are also the means by which you can prevent PAD thereby avoiding the potential complications of the disease.

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