Can PAD and claudication be treated?
Yes. PAD and claudication are often treated with diet and exercise, and sometimes medicine. People who have PAD or claudication should not smoke. It is important to bring down high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
A walking program is very helpful. You should walk at least 4 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes each time. Walk until the pain is too uncomfortable to continue. Stop and rest until the pain goes away. Then start walking again. If you start a new exercise program, such as walking or stair climbing, begin by exercising slowly and gradually increase the time you spend exercising. You may see improvement in your symptoms within 2 months.
Medicine can help some people who have PAD and claudication. Pentoxifylline or cilostazol may help your claudication. Ask your doctor if medicine is right for you.
If your arteries are badly blocked, you may need angioplasty (say: "an-gee-oh-plas-tee") to open them up. During an angioplasty, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the artery. A small balloon on the tip of the catheter is inflated. This helps to open up the artery. The balloon is then deflated and removed. Sometimes a device called a stent (a small wire mesh tube) will be left in the artery. The stent will help hold the artery open. Angioplasty is normally done while you are awake.
If the narrow area of the artery is very long, you may need to have bypass surgery. For the surgery, your doctor will take a vein from another part of your body. The vein will be attached above and below the narrowed part of the artery. This lets the blood flow around the narrowed area. Sometimes a synthetic (man-made) graft is used instead of a vein.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff