PAD treatment aims to control symptoms and to prevent disease progression. A treatment plan considers age, overall health, medical history, disease severity and symptoms. Treatments include lifestyle modification, medication, angioplasty and vascular surgery.
Lifestyle modifications revolve around smoking cessation, regular exercise and proper nutrition. Weight reduction can be achieved with a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet. Alcohol moderation also is important.
Treatment can help manage existing conditions that aggravate PAD: diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Medications prescribed to treat PAD improve blood flow; these include anticoagulants (which prevent blood clots) and beta blockers (which relax blood vessel walls). Procedures for treating PAD include angioplasty and bypass surgery.
- In angioplasty, a catheter is guided to the artery where blood flow is blocked. If a balloon angioplasty is performed, a balloon in the catheter will be inflated at the point of blockage, stretching the clogged artery open and flattening plaque to restore blood flow. Balloon angioplasty may be followed by stent placement, in which a wire mesh tube is inserted to keep the blood vessel open.
- Bypass surgery is performed to re-route blood flow so that it travels around a narrowed or blocked area of a blood vessel. In many cases, a blood vessel will be harvested, or grafted, from another part of the body.