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Arterial Disease

A specific form of atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease (PAD), affects the extremities of your body: legs, stomach, arms, and head. It most commonly manifests itself in the legs, though, as the arteries that feed the legs get narrowed or blocked by a buildup of plaque over time. Certain family histories or personal behaviors lend themselves to the development of PAD.

PAD Candidates

Those who need to be on the lookout for possibly developing PAD include:

If you fall within one of these age groups and qualifying factors, you need to be looking for PAD symptoms, which can be tricky to figure out as people sometimes mistake them for other ailments.

PAD Symptoms

PAD can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Most often the symptoms are related to the lower extremities.

Non-invasive PAD Treatments

Once PAD is diagnosed, your doctor will give you the best treatment option based on how severe the PAD is.

  • Exercise Often, PAD can be treated successfully through exercise. The process is called cardiac rehabilitation and involves walking, leg exercises, and time on the treadmill. If the PAD is severe enough, your doctor may require you to do this at a rehabilitation center where supervisory help is available if needed.
  • Diet Your doctor may combine diet with your exercise to help control fatty, cholesterol buildup by moving you to a low-saturated fat, low-trans fat diet. If the diet isn’t sufficient, your doctor may also add a cholesterol-lowering medication to the mix.
  • Smoking If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, one of the best ways to treat your PAD is to quit completely.
  • Medication Blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, and anti-clotting medication are all possibilities if diet and exercise aren’t sufficient.
  • Diabetes If you suffer from diabetes, your doctor will probably help you come up with a plan to help effectively manage your diabetes and minimize its contributing effects to PAD.

Invasive treatments

Although atherosclerosis seems complicated, with the right professional walking you through it, it doesn’t have to be.

  • Angioplasty Your doctor inserts a catheter into the vein and inserts a balloon into the catheter. The balloon is then inflated in the blocked artery, unclogging it. If necessary, a stent may be placed in the artery to keep the clog open.
  • Atherectomy This procedure inserts a small device through the catheter into the vein. The device is then used to remove plaque from the artery.
  • Stent After angioplasty, if there is still blockage present a flexible metallic stent is placed in the artery.
  • Surgery The most invasive of the treatments, this is only used if an angioplasty and stents are not possible. Your doctor may choose to do a vein bypass, taking a vein from a different part of your leg and routing the flow of blood around the clogged vein.

Contact the specialists at Heart and Vascular Care today to schedule a consultation.

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