How to Diagnose and Treat Peripheral Artery Disease?

Q:
How to diagnose and treat peripheral artery disease?

A:
Diagnosis

There are some tests that are used to diagnose peripheral artery disease:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will look for things like a weak or absent pulse below a narrowed area of your artery, whooshing sounds (bruits) over your arteries that can be heard with a stethoscope, evidence of poor wound healing in the area where your blood flow is restricted, and decreased blood pressure in your affected limb.
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI). It compares the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm.
  • Ultrasound. It can help your doctor evaluate blood flow through your blood vessels and identify blocked or narrowed arteries.
  • Angiography. It allows your doctor to view blood flow through your arteries as it happens.
  • Blood tests. It can be used to measure your cholesterol and triglycerides and to check for diabetes.

Treatment

Treatments for peripheral artery disease include:

  • Medications such as cholesterol-lowering medications, high blood pressure medications, medication to control blood sugar, medications to prevent blood clots, and symptom-relief medications.
  • Angioplasty is used 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.
  • Bypass surgery allows blood to flow around, or bypass, the blocked or narrowed artery.
  • Thrombolytic therapy will be used to break a blood clot up if it blocks an artery.
  • Supervised exercise program is used to increase the distance you can walk pain-free.

Lifestyle changes can also help manage symptoms and stop the progression of atherosclerosis throughout your body to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.