Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a widely prevalent medical ailment that affects numerous people worldwide. The disease is also called peripheral vascular disease and occurs due to the accumulation of plaque or fatty deposits in the arteries. The accumulation leads to the blockage of the arteries preventing the normal flow of blood to the legs and arm muscles. However, peripheral artery disease mainly affects the legs and causes immense pain.
Usually, PAD does not display any symptoms. But some people experience pain in their legs, which becomes severe when walking. However, a few minutes of rest heals the pain. In addition, some people show certain other symptoms like shiny skin, change in colour of legs, hair loss on legs, brittle toenails, numbness in legs and many others.
PAD is not considered a serious condition in its initial stages, but as the disease progresses, it can assume life-threatening proportions. That is why it becomes crucial to avail peripheral artery disease treatment from hospitals like BLK-Max, Nanavati Max Hospital or other well-known hospitals under the aegis of Max Healthcare, a leading hospital chain in the country.
Treatment for peripheral artery disease
Numerous treatments can help manage peripheral artery disease. Some peripheral artery disease treatments that your doctor might suggest depending on the progress of the disease, are mentioned below.
If PAD is in its initial stages, it can be managed by making a few lifestyle changes. That is why it is necessary to avail medical consultation if you experience pain in the leg or notice any other PAD symptoms. Some lifestyle changes that you might be required to make include:
Giving up smoking: Smoking can drastically increase the risk of increasing PAD symptoms. This is because smoking can cause severe damage to the arteries, restricting blood flow. So quit smoking. If you find it challenging, talk to your doctor.
Exercise: Contrary to the belief that exercise increases pain, it can lessen the discomfort greatly. Ask your doctor which exercises are good for you and do them regularly.
Healthy diet: A nutritious diet is one of the best ways to manage peripheral artery disease. Ensure that your diet is low in saturated fat and includes vegetables, fruits and other healthy ingredients. Besides smoking, high cholesterol levels and blood pressure are prominent risk factors for PAD. A healthy diet will help manage these medical conditions.
Other changes: Obesity is also linked to peripheral artery disease. So if you are obese, it is imperative to keep your weight in check. Along with smoking, it will also help if you cut down on your alcohol intake.
Besides lifestyle changes, the doctor may also suggest certain medications. Medications are prescribed to manage health conditions that can contribute to the rise of PAD. These include medication to lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, prevent formation of blood clots, and to bring relief from PAD symptoms like leg pain.
The intake of medication will be different for each patient and usually depends upon their condition and progress of the disease. There are a few side-effects associated with medications, but most of them are mild. If the symptoms become severe, get in touch with your doctor.
Surgery is usually undertaken when the pain is very severe, and lifestyle changes and medication have proven ineffective in treating the condition. The doctor will try to restore the normal flow of blood to the legs through surgery, thereby easing pain. Some surgeries that the doctor may recommend, include:
Angioplasty: A catheter comprising a tiny balloon is guided through a blood vessel to the blocked artery. Once the catheter has reached the artery, the balloon will be inflated. Next, the plaque that is the cause of the blockage is pressed against the artery wall, reopening the artery and allowing the smooth flow of blood.
Bypass surgery: As the name suggests, the aim of this surgery is to create a path that allows the blood to pass around the blocked artery. The path is formed around the narrowed artery with the aid of a blood vessel that has been obtained from another part of the body.
The surgeries usually take a few hours to perform and require a hospital stay.
Peripheral artery disease can become a serious complication if it is left untreated. If you see any symptoms of the disease and bring them to the doctor’s notice early on, there is a high probability that it can be rectified through lifestyle changes or medication. However, if the disease is allowed to progress, it can become life-threatening.
The best way to prevent PAD is to avoid smoking, have a healthy diet, exercise regularly and make other lifestyle changes. If you see any PAD symptoms, do not ignore them. Contact an experienced doctor at a Max Healthcare hospital. Proper peripheral artery disease treatment on time will help you lead a normal life.