Blocked arteries in both legs - management options?


Q: My husband is 62 yrs old and has just been told his arteries are blocked in both legs..what should he do


A:   I do understand your concern. Your husband is suffering form peripheral artery disease, a condition in which there is narrowing and hardening of the arteries in the lower extremities. The decreased blood supply due to this blockage could lead to damage of the nerves and tissue of the legs.
The main cause of narrowing or blockage of the arteries of the legs is due to arteriosclerosis caused by buildup of fat plaque around the arteries. The symptoms experienced due to peripheral artery disease are pain and tingling sensation of the extremities, pain is worse when the limb is elevated and relieves when it the lowered, leg ulcers and cramps at night.
Treatment involves life-style modifications, medications and surgery in severe cases. The lifestyle modifications that your husband can make are :
i) Balanced diet and exercise.
ii) Stop smoking and alcohol.
iii) Take proper care of the feet, pay attention to injuries, wear proper footwear.
iv) Monitor blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels.
Your husband may need to consult his doctor regarding medications. Aspirin or clopidogrel may help prevent formation of clots in the arteries. He may also need to take medications that lower cholesterol.
Severe blockage of the arteries may even require angioplasty and stent placement or a peripheral artery bypass surgery of the leg.

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