Peripheral Arterial Disease
Prevention and Treatment of Peripheral Arterial Disease
Lifestyle change is the treatment of choice. Such changes include quitting smoking, reducing salt intake to lower high blood pressure, reducing your intake of foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, maintaining a normal weight, and increasing activity levels. Controlling blood sugar levels also is very important. If these changes are not sufficient to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, thereby slowing the progression of atherosclerosis, your doctor may prescribe one or more medications aimed at treating those and other conditions that cause PAD or make it more serious, including:
- Blood pressure medications,
- Cholesterol-lowering medications,
- Diabetes medications,
- Anticoagulants and anti-platelet medications (to make the blood less likely to clot and form a blockage).
In serious cases, surgery may be required to open or repair clogged arteries, or a stent may need to be inserted.
Foot Care for PAD
Preventive foot care is critical for people with PAD due to the increased risk of unrecognized damage to the feet and the compromised healing ability of the body. For people with PAD, IPFH recommends following foot care strategies similar to those for people with diabetes, including checking your feet—top, bottom, sides, between the toes, toenails—at least once a day. Inspect your feet after a bath or shower. When your feet are dry (including between the toes), sit in a well-lit room. If you have trouble seeing the bottom or sides of your feet, use a mirror with an extended handle or any mirror that permits you to see your whole foot. Click here for specific steps to take.
Always talk to your doctor if you have soreness, pain, redness, swelling or other indications of problems in any area of the feet or lower legs that persist for more than a few days.