How is P.A.D. Treated?

The overall goals for treating P.A.D. are to reduce any symptoms, improve quality of life and mobility, and prevent heart attack, stroke, and amputation.  There are three main approaches to treating P.A.D.: making lifestyle changes; taking medication; and in some cases, having a special procedure or surgery.  Your health care provider will determine the best treatment options for you, based on your medical history and the severity of your condition.

Lifestyle Changes

P.A.D. treatment often includes making long-lasting lifestyle changes. If you have P.A.D., or are aiming to prevent it, your health care provider may prescribe one or more of the following:

  • Quit smoking.  Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit.  Consult with your health care provider to develop an effective cessation plan and stick to it.
  • Lower your numbers.  Work with your health care provider to correct any high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.  Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Get moving.  Make a commitment to be more physically active.  Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Aim for a healthy weight.  If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care provider to develop a supervised weight loss plan.


In addition to lifestyle changes, your health care provider may prescribe one or more medications.

These medications are used to:

  • Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and treat diabetes;
  • Prevent the formation of blood clots that could cause a heart attack or stroke; and
  • Help reduce leg pain while walking or climbing stairs.

Special Procedures and Surgeries

If the blood flow in one of your limbs is completely or almost completely blocked, you may benefit from having a procedure or surgery in addition to medications and lifestyle changes.  Procedures such as angioplasty and bypass graft surgery will not cure P.A.D., but they can improve the blood circulation to your legs and your ability to walk.