Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

Peripheral artery disease treatment primarily focuses on the reversal of atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Atherosclerosis develops over time, as cholesterol, fat, and other substances accumulate in blood vessels and result in a narrowing of the arteries, which in turn limits the arteries’ ability to transport blood. Atherosclerosis, and the peripheral artery disease that often accompanies it, can worsen over time if not addressed. However, there are several simple lifestyle changes that can be made to slow down and even reverse the effects of peripheral artery disease, such as:

  • Quitting smoking – This is the single most important action to take if you’re a smoker with peripheral artery disease.
  • Losing weight – Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), especially one under 30, reduces the workload on your heart.
  • Eating healthy foods – Choose heart-healthy foods such as vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead of processed foods that are high in cholesterol, sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar.
  • Exercise – With approval from your physician, exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

In addition to these lifestyle modifications, physicians sometimes prescribe medication to help control a patient’s cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, or blood pressure. Anti-clotting medications and vasodilators (medications that widen the blood vessels) may also be prescribed to improve blood flow.

Some more advanced cases of peripheral artery disease must be treated by surgical procedures. Two common procedures performed are angioplasty, used to widen the artery, and bypass, when a blood vessel (artificial or from another part of the body) is used to change the flow of blood to go around the narrowed artery.

Tampa General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Center features state-of-the-art equipment that is used to treat many kinds of heart and vascular conditions. TGH has been named one of the country’s top 50 hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. World & News report. Our physicians and other medical professionals are well-equipped to provide comprehensive treatments, from prescribing safe exercise regimens to performing surgical procedures.