Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs - Treatment Overview
Your treatment for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) will focus on healthy lifestyle changes first. You may need to take medicines to ease leg pain or to help you manage other health problems.
If lifestyle changes don't help, or if your PAD gets very bad, you may need angioplasty or bypass surgery of the leg arteries.
It's important to do what you can to improve your health and possibly reverse the buildup of plaque in your
arteries. When you have PAD, you have a high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Making healthy changes and following your treatment plan can reduce this risk.
Healthy changes you can make
- If you smoke,
quit. Quitting is the best thing you can do when you have peripheral arterial disease
(PAD). Medicines and counseling can help you quit for good.
- Try to get more exercise. Studies show
that walking 3 times a week for 3 to 6 months lengthens the distance you can
walk before you need to stop because of leg pain.3
Being able to walk farther may mean that you are getting better blood flow to
the muscles in your legs. A supervised
exercise program that is designed just for you
may help you the most.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. For help, see:
- Heart Disease: Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet.
See Living With PAD for more ideas about changes you can make and about support to help you make them.
You may need medicines to help prevent blood clots, improve cholesterol, or lower blood pressure. You might take a medicine that can help ease pain while you are walking.
For more information, see Medications.
Procedures and surgery
peripheral arterial disease gets worse
despite treatment. People who have severe PAD or who are at risk
for losing a limb may need bypass surgery or other procedures (such as
angioplasty) to restore proper blood flow to the legs.
For more information, see Surgery and Other Treatment.