How is peripheral vascular disease treated?
Treatment of peripheral vascular disease has two main aims. The first aim is to manage symptoms so that you can return to your normal activity level. The second aim of treatment is to limit or completely stop the progression of atherosclerosis.
Often, lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, can successfully treat peripheral vascular disease. Depending on the severity and underlying cause, your health care provider may also recommend medications or minimally invasive procedures.
What you can do to improve your peripheral vascular disease
In most cases, lifestyle modifications can be the most effective treatment for peripheral vascular disease. Your health care provider may recommend:
- Eating a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol
- Quitting smoking
- Starting a supervised exercise program
Medications used to treat peripheral vascular disease
Depending upon your individual situation and risk factors, your health care provider may prescribe medicines from a number of different classes including:
- Antihyperglycemic drugs, which control blood sugar in diabetes
- Antihypertensive medications, which lower blood pressure
- Antiplatelet drugs, which limit blood clot formation
- Pain medications, which reduce pain during activity
- Statins and other drugs, which lower blood cholesterol levels
Procedures used to treat peripheral vascular disease
If blood flow is completely or almost completely blocked, your health care provider may recommend one of the following procedures:
- Angioplasty, in which the blocked blood vessel is widened by inflating a balloon-like catheter inside the blood vessel. A small mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the vessel to keep it open.
- Bypass grafting, in which the blocked blood vessel is bypassed with a blood vessel harvested from another part of your body or with manufactured tubing
- Thrombolytic therapy, in which a clot-dissolving drug is injected into the blood vessel to break up blood clots
What are the potential complications of peripheral vascular disease?
The outlook for peripheral vascular disease is good if appropriate treatment is received. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled peripheral vascular disease can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of peripheral vascular disease include:
- Blood clots or emboli that block off small arteries
- Open sores on the lower legs (ischemic ulcers)
What is peripheral vascular disease?
Peripheral vascular disease is a condition in which the blood vessels in the lower extremities (feet, legs, or thighs) are narrowed, restricting blood flow. Peripheral vascular disease is primarily caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in blood vessels.... Read more about peripheral vascular diseaseintroduction
What are the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease?
Individuals with mild peripheral vascular disease may experience no symptoms. Those with moderate or severe blood vessel blockages often experience symptoms that are the result of restricted blood flow to the lower extremities.... Read more about peripheral vascular diseasesymptoms