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Peripheral Artery Disease of the Legs

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

As with any disease caused by atherosclerosis, reducing the risk factors that lead to peripheral artery disease is critical to stop progression. Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure at target levels, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet are all part of the plan.

The drug cilostazol reduces symptoms of claudication in many people. Pentoxifylline is another drug used to improve blood flow in people with poor circulation. Doctors may also prescribe aspirin or other anticlotting drugs.

The most effective treatment, however, is exercise. It may be surprising, but regular exercise reduces the pain of peripheral artery disease.

For severe peripheral artery disease, surgery can bypass a blocked artery and restore blood flow.

Peripheral artery disease is dangerous, even when it's silent. Even when symptoms are not noticeable, people with peripheral artery disease decrease their activity level over time.

Peripheral artery disease is also proof that atherosclerosis is occurring throughout the body. Even if peripheral artery disease never causes problems itself, it increases the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke significantly.

Poor circulation is nothing to take lightly. If you have peripheral artery disease, it's time to start treating your atherosclerosis by reducing your risk factors.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 13, 2012

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