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Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory disorder that affects the blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It is caused by the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, leading to reduced blood flow to the extremities. Common symptoms include leg pain, numbness, and slow-healing sores. Diagnosis involves tests like ankle-brachial index and angiography. Treatment options range from lifestyle changes and medications to more invasive procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery. Prevention involves quitting smoking,

Best medications for Peripheral Artery Disease

Drug NameClassRouteStandard DosagePrice
PlavixAntiplatelet DrugsOral75 MGfrom$9.53
CilostazolPDE3 InhibitorsOral50, 100 MGfrom$4.00
PentoxifyllineBlood Viscosity ReducersOral400 MGfrom$1.12
XareltoDirect-Acting Oral AnticoagulantsOral2.5, 1, 15, 15 & 20, 20, 10 MGfrom$554.34
ZontivityAntiplatelet DrugsOral2.08 MGfrom$408.16

Introduction

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a common circulatory disorder that affects the blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It occurs when there is a build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries, leading to decreased blood flow to the extremities, especially the legs and feet. PAD is typically caused by atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.

Symptoms

PAD often develops gradually and may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, individuals may experience symptoms such as: 1. Leg pain, cramping, or discomfort during physical activity (intermittent claudication) 2. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs 3. Coldness or changes in skin color on the legs or feet 4. Slow-healing sores or ulcers on the legs or feet 5. Weak pulse in the legs or feet 6. Erectile dysfunction in men.

Diagnosis

To diagnose PAD, healthcare providers may perform several tests, including: 1. Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test: This test compares the blood pressure in the arms to the blood pressure in the ankles to determine if there is reduced blood flow. 2. Doppler ultrasound: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to create images of the blood flow in the arteries. 3. Angiography: A dye is injected into the arteries, and X-rays are taken to visualize any blockages or narrowing. 4. Blood tests: These may be done to assess cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and other factors that contribute to PAD.

Treatment

The primary goals of treating PAD are to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce the risk of complications. The treatment options for PAD include: 1. Lifestyle changes: These may include quitting smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. 2. Medications: Doctors may prescribe medications to manage underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, which can worsen PAD. 3. Antiplatelet drugs: These medications, such as aspirin or clopidogrel, help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. 4. Angioplasty and stenting: In more severe cases, a procedure called angioplasty may be recommended to open up the narrowed or blocked arteries. This may involve placing a stent to keep the artery widened. 5. Bypass surgery: In certain situations, bypass surgery may be performed to create a new route for blood flow, bypassing the blocked or narrowed arteries.

Prevention

While some risk factors for PAD, such as age and family history, cannot be changed, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their risk and prevent the progression of the disease. This includes: 1. Not smoking or seeking help to quit smoking 2. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight 3. Eating a balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans fats 4. Managing other health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol 5. Regularly monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels, if diabetic. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and managing underlying conditions, individuals can greatly reduce their risk of developing PAD and improve their overall cardiovascular health. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.