What is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition that affects the peripheral arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body. PAD occurs when these arteries become narrow or blocked, reducing blood flow to the affected body parts. The most common symptoms of PAD include pain, numbness, and cramping in the legs or feet, especially during physical activity.

How is PAD caused?

PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits, or plaques, build up inside the arteries, narrowing the blood vessels and restricting blood flow. Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body, but it is most commonly found in the peripheral arteries of the legs and feet. Other risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of the disease.

PAD can be a serious condition, and if left untreated, it can lead to complications such as foot ulcers, gangrene, and amputation. However, there are a number of treatments available for PAD, and early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent these complications and improve quality of life.


The first step in treating PAD is to make lifestyle changes that can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of further narrowing of the arteries. These may include quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising regularly, and following a healthy diet.

Medications may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Some of the most commonly used medications for PAD include antiplatelet agents, such as aspirin or clopidogrel, which can help prevent blood clots from forming in the narrowed arteries, and statins, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of further plaque build-up.

In more severe cases of PAD, surgical or minimally invasive procedures may be necessary to restore blood flow to the affected areas. These procedures may include angioplasty, in which a small balloon is inserted into the narrowed artery and inflated to widen the artery and improve blood flow, or stenting, in which a small metal mesh tube is placed in the artery to hold it open.

In some cases, bypass surgery may be necessary, in which a healthy blood vessel is taken from another part of the body and used to bypass the blocked artery, allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area.

If left untreated, PAD can lead to serious complications, including foot ulcers, gangrene, and amputation. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for PAD is generally good. By making lifestyle changes, taking medication as prescribed, and undergoing any necessary procedures, most people with PAD can improve their symptoms, reduce their risk of complications, and maintain their mobility and quality of life.


PAD is a common circulatory condition that can cause pain, numbness, and cramping in the legs and feet, especially during physical activity. It is caused by atherosclerosis, and risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of the disease. Treatment for PAD may include lifestyle changes, medications, or surgical procedures, depending on the severity of the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve quality of life for people with PAD.

Life after Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery disease occurs due to the hardening of arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. Bypass surgery is performed to restore normal blood flow to the obstructed coronary artery.

Bypass surgery helps the patients by improving the quality of life and decreasing angina and other CAD symptoms. It improves the pumping action of the heart and lowers the risk of a heart attack. Additionally it enables patients to resume a more active lifestyle.

According to Dr. Ramji Mehrotra, who is one of the Best Cardiac Surgeon in India, patients generally exhibit excellent results after bypass surgery. 85% of people have significantly reduced symptoms, with lesser risk of heart attacks in future, and a lesser chance of dying even beyond 10 years.

Recuperating after bypass surgery

Dr. Mehrotra says that patients should definitely follow the doctor’s advice regarding diet, activity and lifestyle changes, to be adopted after surgery and during recovery. They should take medication as per directions and notify the doctor immediately of any concerns like fever, pain, bleeding or problems at the incision site.

It is essential to follow the guidelines below while recovering after the bypass surgery.

Healthy diet – The patient should consume a healthy diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated and trans-fats. This can stop the build-up of plaque on artery walls.

Medications – Doctors prescribe the medications for promoting comfortable healing from the surgery and reducing the risk of future heart attacks. The medications generally prescribed include:

  • medicines to reduce cholesterol,
  • aspirin and antiplatelets to prevent blood clots,
  • ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers to regulate blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac remodelling.

Physical Activity – Physical activity should be gradually resumed by the patient and the advice of the physiotherapist may help gradual increase in exercise tolerance. For the first six weeks after surgery, the patient should not lift anything that is over 5 kg as the sternum (chest bone) will need time to heal. Walking is a good option for gradually increasing the activity level.

Cardiac Rehabilitation – Through Cardiac rehabilitation or rehab the patient can take up exercise under the supervision of a medical professional. It also involves psychological counselling, nutritional counselling, etc.

Diabetes Management – Patients with diabetes need to carefully manage their recovery in coordination with their doctors as diabetes contributes to cardiovascular disease.

Stress Management – Chronic stress is a risk factor leading to heart disease and hence must be managed carefully with a healthy lifestyle.

Improvement in Life – Improvement in quality of life after bypass gives the patient positive reinforcement towards life and patients are more receptive towards life style changes. Many quit smoking, alcohol and sedentary life style and start exercises and healthy dietary habits. 


As a leading arterial bypass Surgeon based in Delhi, Dr. Ramji Mehrotra is of the opinion that long-term recovery from bypass surgery involves managing the risk factors contributing to the cardiovascular disease. Though some risk factors like family history cannot be changed, others like healthy diet, medications, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes must be adopted for faster recovery and maintenance of good health.