Lifestyle changes: Eating less cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat, may reduce the amount of plaque in the arteries. Weight loss of as little as 10 pounds may lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
People with PVD are encouraged to quit smoking because it may worsen symptoms. Quitting smoking will slow the progress of PVD.
Exercise can lower blood pressure, increase the level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and improve the overall health of blood vessels and the heart. It also helps control weight, control diabetes, and reduce stress. Thirty minutes daily of exercise is normally recommended. Patients should talk to their doctors before starting a new exercise program.
Medications for claudication: Medications used to treat PVD and intermittent claudication include those that aim to lower the risk and progression of atherosclerosis throughout the body, such as those that help quit smoking, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and optimize the blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Two prescription medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the direct treatment of the symptom of intermittent claudication. Pentoxifylline (Trental®) is believed to improve blood flow by decreasing the viscosity (thickness) of blood and making red blood cells more flexible. With these alterations, the blood can move more easily past obstructions in the blood vessel. Cilostazol (Pletal®) keeps platelets from clumping together. This clumping promotes formation of clots and slows down blood flow. The drug also helps dilate, or expand, the blood vessels, encouraging the flow of blood.
Bypass surgery: Bypass surgery can be done on arteries to improve circulation. Bypass surgery involves using one of the individual's own veins or a synthetic graft to re-route blood around a segment of a narrow or blocked artery. Blood flow then goes from the artery, through the bypassed graft, and out to the rest of the body.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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