Empowering Strategies for Managing and Treating Peripheral Artery Disease

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
September 8, 2023

If you suffer from peripheral artery disease (or PAD), it can be hard finding the best empowering life strategies. With modern advancements and treatments, PAD is a disease that can be easily managed and treated. This is our guide, featuring empowering strategies to manage and treat peripheral artery disease.

Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms

Peripheral artery disease symptoms can often be mild or close to none at all. The most common symptom reported is claudication, or leg pain while walking. PAD is caused when peripheral limbs like the arms or legs can’t receive enough blood flow from arteries to meet demand.

Moreover, PAD can be a sign of a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries (also known as atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis causes narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow in the leg and, less often, the arms.

Claudication typically manifests as muscle pain or cramping in the legs or arms, beginning during exercise and ending while resting. This pain is most commonly felt in the calf and can range from mild to severe. At its most severe, this leg pain may make it difficult to walk or perform physical activities.

Other symptoms include:

  • Coldness or lack of warmth in the limb, especially compared to the alternate side.
  • Limb numbness or weakness
  • No pulse or a weak pulse from the affected limb
  • Painful cramping in one or both hips, thigh, or calf muscles after certain activities (like walking or climbing stairs)
  • Shiny-looking skin on the affected limbs
  • Skin color changes
  • Slower finger or toenail growth
  • Sores on the limb that won’t heal
  • Pain when performing activities like knitting, writing, or manual tasks
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hair loss or slowed hair growth on the limbs

In worsened cases, this pain may also occur during rest or when lying down. The pain may even be bad enough to interrupt sleep. Typically, this pain may temporarily be relieved by hanging the limbs over the edge of the bed or walking.

If you have these symptoms, especially leg pain and numbness, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

Peripheral artery disease treatment focuses on two areas: lifestyle changes and medications. When used in tandem, they can treat any preexisting problems from PAD and reduce the risk of them worsening.

Lifestyle Tips for PAD Prevention

The best way to prevent PAD from causing leg pain is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Much of this will improve your general arterial health and quality of life.

The first steps are to quit smoking and control your blood sugar. In addition, focus on eating foods low in saturated fats.

Get regular exercise if you are healthy enough to do so. Likewise, maintaining a healthy body weight will reduce the risk of PAD complications. This will also help manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Check with your healthcare provider about what type of exercise and how much is best for you.

Medication and Other Treatments

If your peripheral artery disease is causing symptoms, your doctor or vascular specialist may prescribe medication to treat it. These can include statins to reduce plaque buildup and lower bad cholesterol levels. They can also include blood pressure drugs and drugs to treat blood clots or leg pain or control blood sugar.

In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral artery disease. Angioplasty treats a clogged artery by reopening it using a special wire mesh tube called a stent. Bypass surgery and thrombolytic therapy can also be used to treat arteries affected by PAD.

Talk to your doctor or vascular specialist about which medications may be right to treat your PAD. They may also tell you about what other treatment options may be best for you.

Get Help Managing and Treating Peripheral Arterial Disease from South Valley Vascular

You aren’t alone in managing your peripheral arterial disease. If you live in the South Bay, you can find valuable support from the vascular experts at South Valley Vascular. 

South Valley’s board-certified vascular specialists are here to help you manage and treat your PAD. They’ll answer any questions you might still have about the conditions and their variants, including peripheral (leg) artery disease

Call or schedule an appointment today to find out more!