Arteries are a part of a circulatory system. They are the vessels which supply oxygenated blood to your body. Proper functioning of arteries is necessary as oxygenated blood is the driving force behind the function of every single cell in your body. If arteries fail to supply blood properly, cyanosis and eventually cell death ensue.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
is a disorder of peripheral arties. In this disease, plaques are formed in blood vessels, leading to a narrow lumen. Narrow blood vessels don’t supply blood as efficiently. This creates many issues.
Symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) include claudication (leg pain while walking), numbness or weakness of the limbs, cold hand and feet, sores on peripheral areas that won’t heal, cyanosis of leg and feet, hair loss over involved area, slow growth of toenails, no pulse or weak pulse in peripheral areas, shiny skin over involved area, and erectile dysfunction or impotence in men.
It is important to get the disease treated with an appearance of the first sign that is usually claudication. There are various preventive measures and treatment options that can be adopted to get rid of this condition. Let’s discuss a few. Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Preventing this disease is the best option. Prevention involves eliminating risk factors and taking good care. Following are a few preventive measures.
* Quit smoking.
* Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
* Make sure that your cholesterol levels are normal.
* Lose excess weight.
* Control your blood pressure.
* Adopt exercise.
* Eat healthy. Decrease fat intake and add fresh fruits and vegetables.
Medical Treatment Options
Medical treatment involves the use of drugs. Medical treatment is usually the first choice when the disease is in initial stages. It is also adopted with other treatment options. Following are a few drugs which are generally used.
* Cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.
* Blood pressure controlling drugs like a diuretic, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors etc.
* Medications to control blood sugar levels.
* Drugs that prevent blood clots in blood vessels like clopidogrel.
* Drugs that increase blood flow towards limb like cilostazol and pentoxifylline.
These treatment options are newer. They are minimally invasive procedures that provide good relief. A balloon is passed into the affected blood vessel with the help of imaging modalities. Balloons can be used to dilate blocked artery.
A stent is another option. Stents are passed into blocked blood vessels and hence not only blockage is treated but they are saved from being collapsed as well.
These are fully invasive procedures which are adopted in cases where treatment with other options is not possible. It mostly occurs in severe occlusion of a blood vessel and when symptoms start appearing even at rest.
Bypass surgery is the most popular technique. In this technique, a graft from some other artery is taken and the blocked region is bypassed by performing a surgery. Taking preventive measures is necessary after the procedure to avoid recurrences.
Muzammal Habib, MD
Vascular Medicine and vein specialist
Dr. Habib has been practicing vein care and vascular More about this author »