Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: peripheral | artery | disease | pad | blood | clot | atherosclerosis

Help With Artery Disease

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 09:16 AM

Question: I am a woman who is 72 and was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD). I’d like your opinion on what I should be taking for it.

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Treatment for PAD has two major goals. The first is to manage symptoms, such as leg pain, so that you can resume physical activities. The second is to stop the progression of atherosclerosis to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. These goals can be met with lifestyle changes. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of complications. Medications are then needed to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and control pain and other symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe daily aspirin therapy or another medication that helps prevent blood clots, such as clopidogrel (Plavix). Antihypertensive medications reduce your systolic blood pressure (the top number of the two numbers) to 140 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) or lower and your diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) to 90 mm Hg or lower.
Statins reduce your risk factor of heart attack and stroke. The goal for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, to less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 2.6 mill moles per litter (mmol/L). The goal is even lower if you have additional major risk factors for heart attack and stroke, especially diabetes or continued smoking.
If you have leg pain, cilostazol (Pletal) increases blood flow to the limbs both by preventing blood clots and by widening the blood vessels. Common side effects of this medication include headache and diarrhea. An alternative to cilostazol is pentoxifylline (Trental); however, it's generally less effective. But, side effects are rare with this medication.

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There are lifestyle and medical treatments for peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 09:16 AM
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