First-line treatment typically involves lifestyle modifications. Your doctor will suggest a regular exercise program that includes walking, a balanced diet, and losing weight.
If you smoke, you should quit. Smoking directly causes reduced blood flow in vessels. It also causes PVD to get worse, as well as increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, you may need medication. Medications for PVD include:
- cilostazol or pentoxifylline to increase blood flow and relieve symptoms of claudication
- clopidogrel or daily aspirin to reduce blood clotting
- atorvastatin, simvastatin, or other statins to lower high cholesterol
- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to lower high blood pressure
- diabetes medication to control blood sugar, if you have diabetes
Significant artery blockages may require surgery like angioplasty or vascular surgery. Angioplasty is when your doctor inserts a catheter or long tube into your artery. A balloon on the tip of the catheter inflates and opens up the artery. In some cases, your doctor will place a small wire tube in the artery, called a stent, to keep it open.
Vascular surgery allows for blood to bypass the narrow area through vein grafting.