Peripheral artery disease involves the constriction of the peripheral arteries to the arms, legs, stomach and head. In most instances, the arteries in the legs are affected.
The treatment for the disease is aimed on minimizing the indications and preventing it from progressing further. Generally, lifestyle alterations, regular exercise and claudication medications are sufficient to delay its progression or even reverse the indications of peripheral artery disease.
How is peripheral artery disease managed?
One effective treatment for peripheral artery disease is engaging in regular physical activity. The doctor might suggest a supervised exercise program. The individual should start in a slow phase but simple walking routines, leg exercises and treadmill exercises can help alleviate the symptoms.
The regimen for intermittent claudication takes into consideration that walking triggers pain. A program involves alternating activity and resting periods to establish the amount of time the individual can walk before pain arises.
Many individuals with peripheral artery disease have high cholesterol levels. A diet that is low in saturated and trans-fat can help in lowering the blood cholesterol levels, but cholesterol medications to lower this level might be required to maintain the appropriate level of cholesterol.
Cessation of smoking
It is important to note that tobacco smoke is a main risk factor for the disease and increases the risk for stroke and heart attack. The individual should stop smoking to slow down the progression of the disease and other heart-related ailments.
The individual might be given high blood pressure medications and/or cholesterol-lowering drugs. In addition, the doctor might also prescribe medications to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Working with a doctor and making the necessary lifestyle changes to properly manage diabetes can help minimize any limb-related complications.
In some cases where the above recommendations are not enough, minimally invasive treatment or surgery might be required. Angioplasty or stent replacement are non-surgical and done by creating a small-sized incision in which a catheter is administered to get hold of the obstructed artery.
A miniature balloon is expanded within the artery to access the clog. A stent might also be implanted at the same time to keep the artery open. Oftentimes, a medication might be given via the catheter or a special device can be inserted to get rid of the clot that is blocking the artery.
In case there is a wide portion of the leg artery that is fully blocked and the symptoms are severe, surgery might be required. In some instances, a vein taken from another part of the body is used to “bypass” and redirect blood around the clogged artery.