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How to Prevent Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Complications

Mar 22, 2024
How to Prevent Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Complications
Complications from peripheral artery disease can be life-threatening. This makes it vital to work closely with a vascular specialist to effectively manage PAD, and minimize the risk of serious complications.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem wherein narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs, primarily the legs. PAD is commonly linked with atherosclerosis (build up of arterial fat), which can restrict blood flow to the heart, brain, and legs.

At Third Coast Vascular, interventional and vascular radiologist, Awais Siddique, MD, specializes in using minimally-invasive, image-guided techniques to diagnose and treat PAD and other conditions that affect the blood vessels.

PAD can lead to severe complications if left unaddressed. However, taking proactive steps can significantly lower these risks. 

Managing existing conditions factors

PAD is frequently associated with other health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Effective management of these conditions is paramount in preventing PAD complications. 

This includes regularly monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels for patients with diabetes, adhering to prescribed medications for controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and regular consultations with health care providers to adjust treatment plans as necessary.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle modifications play a crucial role in managing PAD and its complications. Smoking cessation is of utmost importance, as smoking contributes to constriction and damage of arteries. 

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, has a positive impact on cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

Regular physical activity, such as walking, can also improve symptoms and overall vascular health. To reap the benefits, it’s recommended to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. 

Monitoring for worsening PAD symptoms

Patients with PAD must vigilantly monitor for any changes in their symptoms. Symptoms such as worsening pain, sores that are slow to heal, changes in skin color, or decreased temperature in the lower leg or foot require immediate medical attention. These could be signs of critical limb ischemia, a severe form of PAD that requires prompt treatment.

Medication adherence

Medications play a key role in managing PAD. Antiplatelet agents can help prevent blood clots that could worsen PAD or lead to other cardiovascular events. 

Statins, which lower cholesterol, and medications to control blood pressure also contribute significantly to managing the condition. Adherence to prescribed medication regimens is essential for reducing the risk of complications.

Regular medical check-ups

Regular check-ups with a health care provider are vital for patients with PAD. These appointments provide an opportunity to assess the progression of the disease, adjust medications, and discuss any new symptoms or concerns. 

Dr. Siddique can also recommend regular screenings for other atherosclerotic conditions like coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease.

Preventing complications in peripheral artery disease requires a multifaceted approach that starts with partnering with a vascular specialist. To get started, contact our office to schedule a visit with Dr. Siddique. Third Coast Vascular is dedicated to excellence in vascular care.