Sugar Matters
July 3, 2009
Treating Peripheral Vascular disease

This week we will talk a bit about some easy treatments for peripheral vascular disease. I say “easy” because they are all within your reach as individuals living in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. Some treatments for this problem are not within reach outside of large medical centers, because they require special surgery or procedures such as artery grafting or placing stents in clogged arteries.{{more}} But don’t give up! If you and your doctor decide that you do have peripheral vascular disease based on your symptoms and/or some tests that can be done at the hospital, there are many ways that the disease can be combated before it becomes severe or limb threatening.

Your weapons

1) Glucose control-you knew this was coming! Yes, indeed, improving your diabetes control on the whole will help control and improve vascular disease. PLEASE get those blood sugars under control. I cannot say it enough times.

2) Cholesterol treatment: there are many of you out there still running scared of cholesterol medications. Believe me, these medications actually have very good safety profiles. Yes, there are some potential side effects, but they are not common. Plus, the good these medications can do in most cases FAR outweighs the small chance of any significant side effects. There is excellent research data that shows control and treatment of high cholesterol will decrease than chance of developing peripheral vascular disease, and improves it if you already have the disease.

3) Take an aspirin, or another anti-platelet drug-speak to your doctor about this particular issue. There are a few medications that can help with blood flow by essentially making it less likely to clump together in plaque. There aren’t a lot of medications that are proven to help PVD, but this group is one of them.

4) Exercise-yes, exercise, even for those whose legs hurt a lot while walking. As it turns out, regular exercise promotes new blood vessel formation and will then help restore blood flow. Cardiovascular exercise is one of the least used, but the most effective non-invasive ways of treating peripheral vascular disease. Many people give up exercise because it hurts to walk, but this is precisely when you NEED to keep going. Walk in short spurts if you need to, even 5 minutes at a time, until you can do more; just don’t give up. There is great research data to show that this will help tremendously, so please keep those sneakers on and keep walking!

Again, talk to your doctor about peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Get a hold of it before it gets you. Remember that nursery rhyme about “catch a monkey by the toe?” Think about that here, because if you don’t, then PVD will catch you by the toe, and you may end up losing it-or a whole foot. No joke. Talk to your doc.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227