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A Brief About Peripheral Arterial Disease

There are several causes of foot pain and some of the most common include injury, overwork and exertion, and simply aging. Over time, joints wear out, but it's not just the hips, knees, and ankles that hurt. Other medical conditions can cause pain throughout the leg.

There are several approaches vascular specialists use to treat peripheral artery disease, and depending on the severity and progression of the problem, most begin by recommending lifestyle changes.

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You need to quit smoking and start a specially designed exercise and diet program – often these changes lead to an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels over time, relieving PAD symptoms and thwarting disease progression.

There are also surgical but minimally invasive options for correcting PAD. The two most common treatments are angioplasty and stenting.

The catheter is inserted through a small incision and, using X-rays, the doctor will guide it to the area of the blockage, inflate a small balloon and dilate the affected area, allowing for better blood flow. Sometimes it is necessary to hold the newly enlarged area open with a stent or small metal tube.

Because this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and is minimally invasive, very little anesthesia is required; there is usually no need to spend the night in a hospital or surgical center; and minimal recovery time.

If you have leg pain and are unsure of the cause, be sure to talk to your doctor or vascular specialist about peripheral artery disease. When detected early and treated with dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes, surgery to correct the condition is often not necessary.

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