The goals of treating peripheral artery disease are symptom relief and slowing the illness's progression. The majority of patients with PAD can have their symptoms alleviated or even reversed with a combination of a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and anti-claudication medication.
Cigarette smoking significantly raises the danger of stroke and cerebrovascular heart attack, two of the most common causes of death in the Western world. If you are a smoker, you should try to stop. Methods that have been successful in helping people give up smoking include behavior modification programs, nicotine replacement therapy, and other anti-smoking drugs. The development of PAD and other heart disorders can be slowed by giving up smoking.
Regular exercise is an effective way to alleviate the pain associated with PAD. Supervised exercise training, often known as supervised exercise therapy, maybe something your doctor suggests (SET). Simple walking routines, leg exercises, and treadmill exercise programs help alleviate discomfort; you may need to start cautiously.
Walking produces pain; thus, this should be considered when planning an exercise routine for intermittent claudication. This program is designed to gradually increase the time you can spend walking without experiencing discomfort by alternating periods of activity and relaxation. This workout routine is most effective when performed under medical supervision at a rehabilitation facility while using a treadmill. Your doctor may suggest a home or community-based program if hospitalization is not an option.
Raised cholesterol levels are common in those who suffer from PAD. You can lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood by eating a diet low in saturated and trans fat. Medication to decrease cholesterol levels may be necessary.
Eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains to improve your health. Include non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil and lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. Reduce your intake of red meat, processed meat, added sweets, sugary drinks, and saturated and trans fats.
Medications prescribed by your doctor should be taken as directed. If you don't take these drugs, you're at higher risk for PAD, heart attack, and stroke. Some examples of drugs a doctor might prescribe are:
- Antiplatelet Agents, including antiplatelet drugs like aspirin and clopidogrel
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as statins)
- Medication for high blood pressure (in people with PAD and high blood pressure, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers are recommended)
- Clot-preventing medications, often known as anti-coagulants, include enoxaparin and dalteparin.
Medication (cilostazol) may be recommended for those with claudication to assist them in walking further.
Discuss your disease and any other risk factors with your doctor to see if any prescription medications are necessary.
People with PAD who also have type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse outcomes. Consistently maintaining a healthy blood sugar level helps prevent complications in persons with diabetes and can lessen the risk of limb loss in those with PAD. Coordinated care entails the following steps taken in conjunction with your health care team:
- Eat well to lower your cholesterol and keep your blood sugar under control.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal.
- Medications for glucose management
- Prevention and control of cardiovascular disease by management of additional risk factors
- Preventing foot ulcers and caring for your feet
The above recommendations and therapies may not be adequate for some people. As a result, you could require surgery or treatment that causes as little disruption as possible.
- A stent (tiny wire mesh cylinder) is placed through a small incision to access the blocked artery for treatments like angioplasty and stent insertion (done in the heart for coronary artery disease). To remove the blockage, a small balloon is inflated inside the artery. At the same time, a stent, a small cylinder made of wire mesh, may be implanted to keep the artery open. It is possible to remove a clot blocking an artery by inserting a specific device or administering medication through a catheter.
- To clear the artery of plaque, a surgeon may perform an atherectomy, a minimally invasive treatment. A catheter is placed into the artery, like in angioplasty, to clear the obstruction. The plaque in the blood vessel can be sliced, collected, and removed with the help of the catheter's sharp blade (cutter).
- Bypass surgery may be necessary if a significant segment of an artery in the leg is entirely clogged and the patient is experiencing severe symptoms. An alternative vein is used to "bypass" the blocked artery.
Your doctor will talk to you about the many therapy methods available and help you decide which is right for you.