In peripheral artery disease, or PAD, fatty material called plaque builds up inside the walls of ar...
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In peripheral artery disease, or PAD, fatty material called plaque builds up inside the walls of arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your limbs, especially your legs. Plaque can reduce blood flow, so the muscle cells in your legs don't get the oxygen they need. Depending on the severity, treatment for PAD can include lifestyle changes, medications, and interventional and surgical procedures. Lifestyle changes are designed to reduce the factors that contribute to the disease, like quitting smoking and losing excess weight. Medications can help improve blood flow and treat conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Interventional and surgical procedures may be used to treat more severe PAD. In a procedure called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty - PTA, or just angioplasty, a long thin tube called a catheter with a balloon on its tip is inserted into the blocked artery. The balloon is inflated to flatten the plaque against the artery wall. Sometimes a mesh-like device called a stent is left in place to help keep the artery open. The blockage may also be surgically removed. In some cases, a bypass procedure may be performed to reroute blood flow around the blocked area. If you have PAD, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you and how you can keep it from progressing.