What is peripheral arterial disease?
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is inadequate blood flow, most commonly due to plaque build-up in your arteries. When obstructed, arteries cannot carry enough blood, starving muscles and other tissues in the lower body.
What procedures are used?
A thin tube (catheter) is inserted through a blood vessel in the groin. When the tube reaches the narrowed part of the artery, a balloon is inflated to press the plaque against the wall of the artery. An expandable wire-mesh tube (stent) is often used to hold it open.
This can be accomplished by replacing the blocked portion of the artery with a vein or man-made graft. Vein grafts can keep the blood vessel open longer.
All surgeries pose a certain amount of risk. The risks of surgery for PAD are about the same as those of other types of surgery.
How is PAD treated?
Lifestyle changes and medicine can stop or reverse plaque build-up.
Leg pain often decreases after a few months of treatment.
- If you smoke, quitting is essential in treating PAD
- Follow a heart-healthy diet and exercise program
- Cholesterol-lowering medicines may be needed
- Diabetics should keep blood sugar levels close to normal
If these measures do not reduce your symptoms, angioplasty or bypass surgery may be needed to treat more severe peripheral arterial disease.
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