How to treat vascular disease?
The most common risk factor for coronary heart disease and heart attack is vascular disease. This type of condition also causes stroke as it is affecting the arteries in the neck. The two most common types of vascular disease include peripheral arterial disease or PAD and the peripheral vascular disease or PVD.
PAD is a circulatory condition in which there is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the patient’s stomach, legs, head, and arms. These affected areas don’t receive the proper amount of blood flow to keep up with demand. On the other hand, peripheral vascular disease is the class of diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. This condition happens when there is a narrowing of vessels, responsible for carrying blood to the arms, stomach or kidneys, and legs.
The treatment for vascular disease will be based on your signs and symptoms, the results of physical exams and tests, and risk factors. The overall goals of treating this condition are as follow:
- to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
- to reduce symptoms of claudication
- to improve mobility
- to improve overall quality of life
- to prevent complications
Depending on the situation, treatment may stop or slow down the progression of the disease and reduce any risks of complications. Without treatment, vascular disease may progress, resulting to serious tissue damage in the form of gangrene (tissue death) or sores due to insufficient blood flow. Extreme cases of vascular diseases are also referred to as critical limb ischemia (CLI) or the amputation of part of the leg or foot that is affected by the disease.
Routine physical activity can improve vascular disease symptoms and lower the risk factors for high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, including LDL cholesterol, and excess weight. Doing regular exercise can improve the distances that you can comfortably walk. Ask your doctor about your interest and need in undergoing a supervised exercise program. If a supervised program is not suitable for you, ask your doctor to help you develop a customized exercise plan. Most of the exercise programs begin slowly, including simple walking. As your condition improves, you will build up the amount of time you can walk before developing pain. Once your vascular disease symptoms become better, try to be more active and do other exercises.
Smoking does not do our body any good and it even raises the risk for P.A.D. Cigarette smoking increases the risk for other diseases, like coronary heart disease and heart attack. It also worsens other coronary heart disease risk factors. If you’re having a hard time quitting, talk to your doctor about programs or products that can help you stop this habit. There are hospitals, workplaces, as well as community groups that offer classes to help people quit smoking. You might also want to avoid secondhand smoke.
Together with the lifestyle changes above, your doctor may advice you to start eating heart-healthy food. This is to treat atherosclerosis or the most common cause of P.A.D. Having a heart-healthy diet can help control blood pressure and even cholesterol levels.
If these solutions do not work, medications and surgical procedures may also be advised. If you want to know more about treatment options for vascular diseases, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Vascular and Interventional Centre. Trust their knowledgeable staff to help you understand, cure, and manage vascular diseases. Head over to their website for any questions you have or to schedule a personalized appointment today.
Treatment for peripheral artery disease has two major goals:
- Manage symptoms, such as leg pain, so that you can resume physical activities.
- Stop the progression of atherosclerosis throughout your body to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You may be able to accomplish these goals with lifestyle changes. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of complications.
If lifestyle changes are not enough, you will need additional medical treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and control pain and other symptoms.
You may take a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
The goal for people who have peripheral artery disease is to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, to less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 2.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). The goal is even lower if you have additional major risk factors for heart attack and stroke, especially diabetes or continued smoking.
High blood pressure medications.
If you also have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower it.
The goal of this therapy is to reduce your systolic blood pressure (the top number of the two numbers) to 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or lower and your diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) to 90 mm Hg or lower. If you have diabetes, your blood pressure target is under 130/80 mm Hg.
Medication to control blood sugar.
If you also have diabetes, it becomes even more important to control your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Talk with your doctor about what your blood sugar goals are and what steps you need to take to achieve these goals.
Medications to prevent blood clots.
Because peripheral artery disease is related to reduced blood flow to your limbs, it’s important to improve that flow.
Your doctor may prescribe daily aspirin therapy or another medication, such as clopidogrel (Plavix).
The drug cilostazol (Pletal) increases blood flow to the limbs both by keeping the blood thin and by widening the blood vessels. It specifically helps treat symptoms of claudication, such as leg pain, for people who have peripheral artery disease. Common side effects of this medication include headache and diarrhea.
Angioplasty and surgery
In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral artery disease that’s causing claudication:
In this procedure, a small hollow tube (catheter) is threaded through a blood vessel to the affected artery. There, a small balloon on the tip of the catheter is inflated to reopen the artery and flatten the blockage into the artery wall, while at the same time stretching the artery open to increase blood flow.
Your doctor may also insert a mesh framework called a stent in the artery to help keep it open. This is the same procedure doctors use to open heart arteries.
Your doctor may create a graft bypass using a vessel from another part of your body or a blood vessel made of synthetic fabric. This technique allows blood to flow around or bypass the blocked or narrowed artery.
If you have a blood clot blocking an artery, your doctor may inject a clot-dissolving drug into your artery at the point of the clot to break it up.
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