Early peripheral artery disease can often be treated with exercise, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
Treatment for more advanced peripheral artery disease is focused on managing pain and stopping atherosclerosis to prevent blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Treatments for peripheral artery disease include regular exercise and medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins); blood pressure-lowering drugs; blood sugar-lowering drugs; anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clots, such as aspirin and Plavix; and drugs that increase blood flow to the limbs, such as cilostazol or pentoxifylline.
Treatments for peripheral artery disease that is causing claudication include angioplasty, in which a catheter is inserted with a stent to reopen an artery and increase blood flow; and bypass surgery, in which an artery taken from another area of the body, or a synthetic vessel, is grafted around a blocked artery. Thrombolytic therapy, in which a clot-dissolving drug is injected into a blocked artery, may also be used to treat peripheral artery disease that has caused blood clots.