Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs - Overview
How is it treated?
Treatment for PAD relies mainly on healthy lifestyle changes and taking care to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol. You may need medicines to ease symptoms or to manage other health problems. In some cases, you may need surgery or a procedure called angioplasty.
When you have PAD, you have a high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Making healthy changes along with taking medicines can help reduce this risk.
- If you smoke, quit. It's one of the most important things you can do. If you
need help, talk to your doctor about programs and medicines that can
help you stop.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Follow an exercise program.
- Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure if they are high. You may need medicines to help you do this.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar in a target range.
- Lose weight if you need to, and maintain a healthy weight.
Your doctor may suggest that you attend a
cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program. In cardiac rehab, you will get education and support to help you make new, healthy habits.
Medicines and surgery
If lifestyle changes don't help, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that may relieve the pain when you walk.
For severe PAD, you may need a procedure
angioplasty or bypass surgery to open narrowed
arteries or to reroute blood flow around them.
In rare cases, advanced
PAD can cause tissues in the leg or foot to die because they don't get enough
oxygen as a result of poor blood flow. If this happens, part of the leg or foot
must be removed (amputated). This is more common in people who also have