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Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) develops when fatty plaque builds up on the inside walls of blood vessels in your feet (and sometimes arms), restricting or blocking the normal flow of blood. Treatment for PAD aims to relieve painful symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and minimize complications. 

Find a Doctor at Dignity Health to discuss your best options for peripheral artery disease treatment in the Bay Area. No matter your vascular condition, we can provide the personalized cardiovascular treatment you need.

Common Treatments for Peripheral Artery Disease

PAD can cause serious complications if left untreated, including the formation of blood clots. Loose plaque inside your arteries can cause blood clots to form and, in the worst case, completely block a blood vessel. With limited or no blood supply, tissue in your feet or legs can die, leading to the amputation of a limb. 

To avoid such complications, your doctor can recommend the following common treatments for PAD: 

  • Lifestyle changes — quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise can better your health. 
  • Medications — drugs can prevent blood clots, treat high blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Surgery — peripheral artery bypass surgery, stent placement, and surgical removal of plaque from inside your arteries (atherectomy) can all improve your blood flow.

Choosing Your Best Treatment Options at Dignity Health

The severity of your disease, your specific symptoms, and your personal preference will guide your doctor in forming the best treatment plan for you. Most people affected by PAD need to make at least minor lifestyle changes. A Dignity Health doctor can help you find good strategies for making more difficult changes, such as quitting smoking

Surgical procedures for PAD are generally considered safe. However, every surgery carries the risk of complications. Discuss the goals, risks, and benefits of any recommended PAD treatment with your doctor. 

What You Can Do to Prevent PAD

PAD causes painful symptoms and can lead to problems walking, or complete loss of mobility. Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent PAD. Here are a few ways that you can reduce your risk factors:

  • Do not smoke. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get plenty of exercise.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Effectively manage your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.

Curious to know if your current habits support a heart-healthy lifestyle advocated by Dignity Health doctors? Take our free heart risk assessment to find out. 

Dignity Health offers advanced diagnostic procedures and treatments, including peripheral artery disease treatments, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.