Peripheral Vascular Disease (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?

Comment on this

Treatment goals for peripheral artery disease include:

  1. Relieve the pain of intermittent claudication.
  2. Improve exercise tolerance by increasing the walking distance before the onset of claudication.
  3. Prevent critical artery occlusion that can lead to foot ulcers, gangrene, and amputation.
  4. Prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Treatment of peripheral artery disease includes lifestyle measures, supervised exercises, medications, angioplasty, and surgery.

Lifestyle changes

  • Smoking cessation eliminates a major risk factor for disease progression and lowers the incidences of rest pain and need for amputations. Smoking cessation is also important for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
  • A healthy diet can help lower blood cholesterol and other lipid levels and may help control blood pressure.
  • Keep other risk factors, such as diabetes, lipid levels, and blood pressure under control by following medical advice regarding medications and lifestyle changes.

Supervised exercise

Proper exercise can condition the muscles to use oxygen effectively and can speed the development of collateral circulation. Clinical trials have demonstrated that regular supervised exercise can reduce symptoms of intermittent claudication and allow the patients to walk longer before the onset of claudication. Ideally, exercise programs should be prescribed by the doctor. Patients should be enrolled in rehabilitation programs supervised by healthcare professionals such as nurses or physical therapists. For optimal results, patients should exercise at least three times a week, each session lasting longer than 30 to 45 minutes. Exercise usually involves walking on a monitored treadmill until claudication develops; walking time is then gradually increased with each session. Patients are also monitored for the development of chest pain or heart rhythm irregularities during exercise.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/28/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Peripheral Vascular Disease - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with peripheral vascular disease.
Peripheral Vascular Disease - Symptoms Question: What are your symptoms associated with peripheral vascular disease?
Peripheral Vascular Disease - Treatments Question: What forms of treatment, including lifestyle changes, have you tried for peripheral vascular disease?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!