Depending on the severity of the disease, various steps can be taken to ease the symptoms: The first step is lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly and not smoking. It is also important to:

  • quit smoking
  • control sugar and cholesterol levels
  • control blood pressure
  • eat a healthy diet
  • lose weight, if patients are overweight or obese
  • moderate the consumption of alcohol


If the PAD is connected to diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or high cholesterol, various drug-assisted treatments may be beneficial:

Taking aspirin or clopidogrel is recommended to reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke, and other causes of vascular death in people with symptomatic peripheral disease. The effectiveness of both aspirin and clopidogrel to reduce risk of cardiovascular ischemic events in people with symptomatic PAD is however, not well established.

Cilostazol can improve symptoms in some. Pentoxifylline is of unclear benefit. Cilostazol may improve walking distance for people who experience claudication due to peripheral disease, but no strong evidence suggests that it improves the quality of life, decreases mortality, or decreases the risk of cardiovascular events.

Peripheral Intervention (Revascularization)

Revascularization may be recommended if the leg pain is so severe that it prevents patients from carrying out everyday activities or if the symptoms have failed to respond to the treatments mentioned.

There are different types of revascularization treatment for PAD:

  • angioplasty – where a blocked or narrowed section of artery is widened by inflating a tiny balloon inside the vessel
  • atherectomy – in which the plaque is removed from the vessel wall
  • stent implantation — during intervention, a tiny metal mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the artery to help hold it open
  • artery bypass graft – where blood vessels are taken from another part of the body and used to bypass the blockage in an artery

Surgery (leg amputation)

When gangrene has set in, amputation may be required to prevent infected tissues from causing sepsis, a life-threatening illness.

Source: NHS

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