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Peripheral Artery Disease

Published: March 1, 2009

I am nearly recovered from a mild stroke that my medical reports say was due to peripheral artery disease (PAD). I changed my diet, had physical therapy, and lost weight. I had to stop Lipitor for cholesterol (which is 125) because of nighttime leg cramps. Should I be doing more for my PAD? I have read about inserting stents for narrowed arteries. How does one know if or when these procedures are necessary?

It is important to keep your cholesterol under control. There are drugs other than Lipitor (atorvastatin) that could be tried if your lipids are elevated. The presence of PAD is easily evaluated with a noninvasive Doppler flow probe placed over the artery. Check with your cardiologist if you are concerned. Usually, patients are symptomatic before we intervene with stents or surgery depending on the particular problem. Elevated lipids contribute to the development of PAD, so be sure to keep your cholesterol low.

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