Treatment for peripheral artery disease is designed to reduce a patient’s symptoms, prevent complications and improve quality of life.
It may include lifestyle changes, medicines or surgery.
PAD treatment often includes making long-lasting lifestyle changes. If you have PAD, or are aiming to lower your risk, your healthcare provider may prescribe one or more of the following:
- Quit smoking. Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Consult with your health care provider to develop an effective cessation plan and stick to it.
- Lower your numbers. Work with your healthcare provider to correct any high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
- Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your healthcare provider to develop a supervised weight loss plan.
In addition to lifestyle changes, your health care provider may prescribe one or more medications. These medications are used to:
- Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and treat diabetes;
- Prevent the formation of blood clots that could cause a heart attack or stroke; and
- Help reduce leg pain while walking or climbing stairs.
Surgeries or Special Procedures
If the blood flow in one of your limbs is completely or almost completely blocked, you may benefit from having a procedure or surgery in addition to medications and lifestyle changes. Procedures, like angioplasty and bypass graft surgery, will not cure PAD, but they can improve the blood circulation to your legs and your ability to walk.
Clinical Trials for PAD
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is recruiting for several clinical trials, including ones on reducing PAD risk factors, improving limb function for people with PAD, and catheter-based treatments of arterial disease, among others.