Whether Peripheral Artery Disease is reversible is a bit of a yes and no. In a sense that while there are methods of treating the symptoms of PAD, the disease itself cannot be cured.
So, to answer the questions as to if you can reverse Peripheral Artery Disease, it’s a strong maybe. However, if you are proactive about treating its symptoms, then a healthier and pain-free life might be in the works for you!
Common Symptoms of PAD
In order to discuss reversal techniques, we must first discuss what is there to reverse in the first place! PAD exists both symptomatically and asymptomatically. That means, you either get the short end of the stick (wherein you feel all or some of the most common symptoms) or the better-end (wherein you experience little to no symptoms at all.)
According to NHS UK, the most common symptoms of PAD include:
- Claudication; sharp or numbing pain felt after exercising;
- Overall weakness or numbness in the legs and feet;
- Physical abnormalities, which includes brittleness in the toenails, wiry hair, or even discoloration in skin pigmentation;
- and finally, sores and wounds that do not heal.
Make Healthy Life Choices
The first and simplest way to ‘reverse’ the symptoms of PAD is through a series of lifestyle changes. In most patients, living healthier can very well put a stop to all their symptoms altogether!
For example, smoking is known to be one of the worst things a patient can do to perpetuate PAD. Thus, it is recommended that one cease smoking immediately — in some cases, smoking cessation has even been said to substantially reduce the risk for PAD in patients!
Exercising or changing to a low-fat and healthy-diet has also been known to decrease the intrusiveness of the condition. This is all about maintaining a healthier weight, keeping active, and making sure that your body is getting all the right nutrients (and none of the wrong ones!)
In some cases, like when a patient with PAD just so happens to have diabetes as well, more serious actions must be taken to help control blood pressure, glucose levels, etc. This would involve getting in touch with a doctor, who should be able to provide a recommendation as to the kind of medication you might need.
Of course, sometimes, just changing your lifestyle for the better might not be enough. Fortunately, there are other options that you can consider. These might include:
- Angioplasty: PAD occurs due to a build-up of plaque around the arteries. Angioplasty, when applicable, is done in order to get rid of that plaque. Note, this is a highly intrusive operation — requiring an overnight stay and a procedure that involves inserting a tube through your arteries.
- Stenting: This usually happens in conjunction with angioplasty (which has a tendency of weakening the arteries.) For this procedure, a mesh-tube is placed (called a stent) to support the weakened artery.
- Bypass Surgery: In certain specialized cases, the blocked-up artery will be completely left blocked in favor of ‘installing’ a new artery. Hence, the name bypass — as it allows blood to bypass blockages by using a new artery instead.
Conclusion — Can You Reverse Peripheral Artery Disease?
In the end, there are lots of options available that you can use to ‘reverse’ your PAD. However, the best, and easiest option is to simply live a much healthier life! Of course, such methods are usually more effective when the disease is still in its early stages. So, the earlier that you get diagnosed, the better!
- NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/peripheral-arterial-disease-pad/.
- Conen, David, et al. “Smoking, Smoking Cessation, and Risk for Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease in Women: A Cohort Study.” Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, 7 June 2011, annals.org/aim/article-abstract/746966/smoking-smoking-cessation-risk-symptomatic-peripheral-artery-disease-women-cohort?doi=10.7326/0003-4819-154-11-201106070-00003.