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Peripheral Vascular Disease (cont.)

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What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?

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 7/16/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/peripheral_vascular_disease/article.htm

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