Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Rehabilitation Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about peripheral artery disease (PAD) rehabilitation below. Learn whether you or a loved one are a good candidate for this unique program.

For more information, call 773-878-8200, ext. 7321

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease refers to a condition in which the arteries of the extremities are clogged or reduced in size, resulting in a decrease in blood flow to the extremities. 

What kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease?

A combination of cardiologists and vascular surgeons may be involved in your treatment, in addition to a number of cardiac and vascular specialists. 

What is the best treatment for peripheral artery disease?

Treatment for peripheral artery disease can be multifaceted, from medications to thin the blood or widen the arteries to surgeries such as angioplasty and bypass. The goal of these treatments is to help prevent future risk factors such as heart attack and stroke by alleviating symptoms and halting progress of plaque buildup in the arteries. 

In addition to medical intervention, supervised exercise in a certified peripheral artery disease rehabilitation program can help individuals better manage pain through exercise conditioning. 

What does peripheral artery disease feel like?

Peripheral artery disease may result in a number of symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Pain, cramping or achiness when exercising, walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication) 
  • Dry or brittle finger and toenails

What is peripheral artery disease screening?

To screen for peripheral artery disease, physicians will utilize technology such as blood tests, blood pressure measurements and/or ultrasound to measure blood flow to and from the extremities in order to determine the cause of your symptoms. 

What is symptomatic peripheral artery disease?

Symptomatic peripheral artery disease refers to individuals who have been diagnosed with PAD who exhibit symptoms such as pain or numbness in the extremities. 

What is the most common location for peripheral artery disease?

The most common location for peripheral artery disease is in the lower half of the bottom, affecting the legs and feet. 

What is peripheral artery disease prevention?

While some risk factors for peripheral artery disease cannot be controlled, such as aging or some cases of diabetes, individuals can try to limit these risk factors by not starting or quitting smoking and following a healthy diet and exercise routine to lower risks of plaque buildup or preventable diabetes. 

Who gets peripheral artery disease?

While peripheral artery disease is often associated with an aging population, we are now seeing individuals exhibiting symptoms of the disease much earlier in life, often in conjunction with other health issues such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. 

When is peripheral artery disease an emergency?

Peripheral artery disease is itself not an emergency but it can lead to emergency situations such as heart attack and stroke if unmanaged. 

When to see a doctor for peripheral artery disease?

If you are engaged in activities known to increase risk of peripheral artery disease (i.e. smoking or unmanaged diabetes) and/or have symptoms associated with the disease, always seek out the opinion of a doctor to ensure that the disease is diagnosed and treated early. 

Why can smoking lead to peripheral artery disease?

Smoking can lead to peripheral artery disease due to its side effects, which include a narrowing of the blood vessels.

Why do you get peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease is caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation to the extremities. 

Is peripheral artery disease curable?

Peripheral artery disease is treatable through medication, surgery and rehabilitation; however, the condition is not curable, and will need to be managed over time. 

What is the best exercise for peripheral artery disease (PAD)? 

The best exercise for peripheral artery disease includes forms of cardiovascular exercise that induce pain in your legs, including walking or climbing stairs. In a supervised setting, specialists can help you work toward extending the period of exercise before pain or reducing the amount of pain altogether by conditioning your body in this state. 

Does aspirin help peripheral artery disease?

Aspirin may help peripheral artery disease by thinning the blood and helping manage pain associated with the disease. Always consult your physician before taking aspirin in a regular basis. 

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For more information, call 773-878-8200, ext. 7321

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