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Understanding peripheral vascular disease

What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease is also known as peripheral arterial disease, and in cases of people who suffer from it, the narrowed arteries prevent the blood to flow to the limbs normally, which results in a number of circulatory problems. Legs are mostly affected, because they do not receive enough blood, and that is why pain in that area is one of the most common symptoms, particularly when walking. The reasons for this narrowing of the arteries may be various, but most frequently they are narrowed due to the accumulation of fatty deposits. Besides this one, the inflammation of the vessel, exposure to radiation, or an injury to the limbs may also result in peripheral artery disease.

There are people who are at higher risk of developing PAD, which is why they should pay special attention to their health. Among them are those who suffer from diabetes, obesity, hypertension, as well as those who are over 50 years old, who smoke, or have higher cholesterol.

Can it be treated and how?

When it comes to the available treatment options, they mostly depend on the cause, but it is a fact that the greatest majority of the cases requires that the people in question quit smoking and change their lifestyle and eating habits, which means that they have to turn to the healthy eating and foods low in fats and carbohydrates. In most of the cases, this will be enough to keep the symptoms under control, and to prevent the worsening of the condition, thus reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack, which are the most serious possible complications. However, if this does not prove to be helpful enough, then the person will have to receive medical treatment, which implies the use of the medications that will lower the blood pressure, the level of cholesterol, that will keep the pain under control, and prevent the clotting of the blood.

The most serious cases may require a surgery, and even though it is an invasive method of treatment, it is very helpful. Two surgery procedures are helpful when it comes to the treatment of peripheral artery disease, and they are angioplasty and bypass surgery. One more option is a procedure called thrombolytic therapy, and it is suggested to patients who have a blood clot that blocks the artery. They will simply be administered clot dissolving medication in the artery in question, and the clot will be broken up.  

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