Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

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.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Why Are African-Americans at Greater Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease has haunted generations of Robin Drummond's family. "I have a family history of heart disease on both sides," says the 55-year-old African-American and resident of Hammond, La. "I've had uncles, aunts, and grandparents who've died from heart attacks and heart disease, and two of my mother's brothers died four months apart. One had a heart attack in church, and four months later, one had a heart attack in the post office." When Drummond's father succumbed to heart disease...

Read the Why Are African-Americans at Greater Risk for Heart Disease? article > >

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.
  • Get regular exercise (if your doctor says it's safe). Try walking, swimming, or biking for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week. Your doctor might recommend a supervised exercise program if you have intermittent claudication.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Lose weight if you need to.

A cardiac rehab program can help you make lifestyle changes. In cardiac rehab, a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you make new, healthy habits.

See Living With PAD for more ideas about changes you can make and about support to help you make them.

Medicines

You may need medicines to help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. These include medicine to prevent blood clots, improve cholesterol, or lower blood pressure. You might take a medicine that can help ease pain while you are walking.

Procedures and surgery

Sometimes 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW