Atherosclerotic disease of the lower extremities, peripheral artery disease is a leading cause of death from cardiovascular causes. Adjustments to one's way of life, medication, endovascular repair, or surgery may all be part of the treatment plan for this ailment. Reducing cholesterol, antiplatelet therapy, anticoagulation, peripheral vasodilators, blood pressure management, exercise therapy, and quitting smoking are some therapeutic approaches to peripheral artery disease.
Atherosclerosis has systemic consequences, such as stroke and myocardial infarction, but limb-related effects, such as critical limb ischemia and amputation, can be mitigated by following this regimen. Peripheral artery disease is less well-addressed than coronary artery disease. In this article, we’ll learn about the management of Peripheral Artery Disease.
Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease
A doctor will diagnose the symptoms of peripheral artery disease. Questions regarding your symptoms and health background are a doctor’s standard practice. A weak or missing pulse is a common symptom of peripheral artery dysfunction.
Diagnostic procedures for peripheral artery disease may include:
Blood tests: high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes are all linked to PAD and can be detected with a simple blood test.
Ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a typical procedure for identifying PAD. The ankle blood pressure is compared to the arm blood pressure. Treadmill time is always an option. The arteries can be checked during a walk by taking a blood pressure reading before and after the walk.
Ultrasound for the feet or legs: Sound waves are used in this diagnostic procedure to observe blood flow through the arteries. The Doppler ultrasound is a specialized form of ultrasonography that can detect restricted or blocked arteries.
Angiography: This examination uses imaging technologies like X-rays, MRI, and CT scans to detect arterial blockages. Dye (contrast) is injected into a blood artery before pictures are taken. The dye enhances the diagnostic imaging of the arteries.
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment
Treatment for peripheral artery disease aims to achieve the following:
- Treating symptoms like leg pain might make physical activity more bearable.
- Reducing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke can be accomplished by fostering better arterial health.
- Peripheral artery disease treatment typically entails a combination of lifestyle modifications and medicines.
In the early stages of peripheral artery disease, a lifestyle change can help alleviate symptoms. Most importantly, if you are a smoker, you can greatly minimize your chance of issues by giving up smoking. Regular, scheduled activity, such as walking or other forms of exercise (supervised exercise training), can significantly reduce symptoms.
Your healthcare practitioner may recommend medication for peripheral artery disease (PAD) symptoms. The following medications are examples of those used to treat PAD:
- Cholesterol drugs: Statins are routinely administered for persons with peripheral vascular disease. Statins are medications that reduce LDL cholesterol and arterial plaque. The medicines also reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes. Consult your doctor about the optimal cholesterol levels for your condition if you have PAD.
- Blood pressure drugs: Untreated hypertension can lead to artery hardening and narrowing. The blood flow may be slowed as a result. Find out from your doctor what your ideal blood pressure reading should be. Medication to decrease high blood pressure may be prescribed by a doctor.
- Medications to control blood sugar: If you have diabetes, maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is more crucial than ever. Discuss your blood sugar targets and strategies for reaching them with your healthcare physician.
- Medications to prevent blood clotting: Decreased blood flow to the limbs is linked to peripheral artery disease. Therefore, drugs to increase circulation may be prescribed. Clopidogrel (Plavix) and other medications like aspirin can reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Medications for leg pain: Thinner blood and dilated blood vessels are the effects of the medication cilostazol. The circulation in the extremities is boosted as a result. Patients suffering from the peripheral vascular disease can now alleviate their leg pain with this medication. Headaches and stomach upset are the most common adverse reactions to this drug. Pentoxifylline is available as an option for those who choose not to use morphine. Rare adverse reactions are a plus; however, it doesn't compare to the effectiveness of cilostazol.
Surgeries Or Other Procedures
Claudication can be caused by peripheral artery disease; in certain situations, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary to address the condition.
- Stent implantation and angioplasty: An angioplasty is used to treat arterial blockages. A clogged artery can be identified and treated with this device. A catheter is a small, flexible tube that leads medical staff to the constricted section of an artery. An artery can be widened with a small balloon, and blood flow can be restored. A tiny tube made of wire mesh (stent) may be implanted to maintain blood flow via an artery.
- Bypass surgery: When an artery is clogged, a surgeon often uses a healthy arterial from another body region or a synthetic one to bypass the blockage.
- Thrombolytic therapy: A clot-dissolving medication may be injected directly into the artery if a blood clot prevents blood flow.
Lastly, stop smoking immediately. Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing PAD and may worsen the condition in those who already have it. Make an appointment with your doctor or healthcare professional to discuss effective cessation aids. Reduce your intake of saturated fat and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables for an instant health boost.