Curious about what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease? You aren’t alone. Lots of patients at the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center come to us not just to receive treatment but to learn about vascular health. That’s why we love creating educational resources—they allow us to answer your burning questions and provide a platform to advocate for vascular wellness.
So, as you can probably tell from our title, this month, we wanted to deep dive into the subject of lifestyle changes for PAD treatment. More than just that, though, we wanted to take a look behind the curtain at the medical professionals on our team who support our patients with PAD care.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Peripheral Artery Disease?
So, what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease? A vascular surgeon. In our case, that would be Dr. Stout—the world-class vascular surgeon here at the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center.
Vascular surgeons are medical doctors who have, by completing a General Surgery Residency Program and then Vascular Surgery Fellowship, been ABMS Board Certified for vascular surgery.
This specialty is one of only three surgical specialties that include training in operative management and the medical care of patients with diseases of the blood vessels. Vascular Surgeons are certified to work on veins and arteries.
Still, they often spend most of their time on arterial work, given the prevalence of arterial diseases in the United States and abroad.
What does a vascular surgeon do?
If you’re dealing with PAD, just knowing what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease can do a world of good for setting you down the right care path. But what does a vascular surgeon actually do?
As our resident vascular surgeon, we turned to Dr. Stout to answer that complex question!
The short answer is that vascular surgeons are experts in the treatment of circulatory diseases.
The long answer is that vascular surgeons work with patients to create comprehensive care strategies to improve patient vascular health long-term. They do this both by working to address the symptoms of arterial disease and by improving vascular wellness with holistic care solutions.
Dr. Stout, for instance, provides expert treatment and service to the people of Rogers. He also services nearby communities like Bentonville, Fayetteville, Lowell, and Springdale and those who travel to us from out of state.
Conditions such as blood clots or hardening of the arteries can slow or obstruct blood flow in blood vessels, preventing blood from flowing correctly to parts of the body. This can be a severe health concern, potentially even fatal, if not addressed promptly. Vascular surgeons help identify these issues, develop care solutions, operate on them as necessary, and work with patients to prevent recurrence with lifestyle changes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Vascular Surgeons
Thankfully, most people don’t need to know what a vascular surgeon does until later in life. However, this gap in the treatment population leads to confusion about what precise vascular surgeons do and what to look for in artery care in Rogers.
Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand the role of vascular surgeons in your artery health!
When Do I Need a Vascular Surgeon?
Many people only need a vascular surgeon when they unexpectedly discover a problem with their vascular system. Referral to a vascular surgeon is usually an indication that your condition requires further exploration and perhaps even a more specific diagnosis.
Your vascular surgeon will work with you to develop a thorough and effective treatment plan to improve your PAD symptoms and protect your vascular health.
Will I Need Surgery?
Not necessarily! Many vascular surgeons offer their patients a spectrum of treatment options, from general guidance and conservative-care plans to actual operative treatment.
You may need angioplasty and stenting, atherectomy, or limb salvage solutions, but they aren’t always immediately necessary! Your vascular surgeon will make sure you know and understand all your options.
The majority of patients with proper lifestyle changes may never need surgery. When surgery is necessary, the patient will likely receive an endovascular procedure, which happens through an incredibly tiny incision and is only minimally invasive.
Are There Alternatives for PAD Care?
An American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) board-certified vascular surgeon can provide comprehensive vascular care. This includes care options for circulation disorders, prescription medications, and even physical therapy.
Unlike many doctors, they receive training in endovascular procedures and open surgeries. They are a regular, artery-care swiss army knife! You do have alternative artery care options, but those specialists usually lack such comprehensive training.
Working with vascular surgeons to change your life by changing your lifestyle
If you’re wondering what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease, you’re likely either dealing with the condition or have a loved one struggling with PAD.
The unfortunate truth about PAD is that by the time you need treatment, your arterial health is already fundamentally impacted. While that may sound ominous on its face, all that means is that treatment won’t be the end of your artery health journey.
That’s why it’s so important to consult a vascular surgeon. A vascular surgeon is better equipped than any other medical professional to guide patients in long-term vascular recovery. In fact, many vascular surgeons are equipped to help you build comprehensive lifestyle plans to improve your vascular health long-term, even if your PAD improves after a surgery or minimally invasive procedure.
The most effective treatment solution for PAD long-term isn’t just treatment, it’s the combination of treatment and long-term changes to your lifestyle. For many patients, while predisposition to arterial disease and vascular conditions can be genetic, lifestyle plays a major role in the onset and severity of circulatory problems. So, making lasting changes to your lifestyle is the most effective way to ensure the results of treatment stick around.
But changing your life can be incredibly hard. That’s why knowing what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease is such a great first step. Vascular surgeons like Dr. Stout are equipped to provide the tools you need to improve your health and lifestyle.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your vascular system, so we encourage our patients to stop smoking immediately. Smoking contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, meaning it’s a major risk factor for developing arterial disease and decreasing quality of life.
As a result, one of the critical lifestyle changes we cover with patients is the cessation of smoking. Smoking will not only complicate your recovery process but also increase the likelihood that issues will return and worsen.
Did you know that the odds of quitting smoking are less than 1% if you try to quit cold turkey? It’s an astonishing statistic, we know. That’s why we encourage you to work with your physician. With counseling, meditation, and the guidance of a vascular surgeon, those odds increase to over 40%. In short: let us help.
Exercise & Eat Healthier
When discussing long-term lifestyle changes, Dr. Stout likes to discuss diet & exercise together. After all, they both contribute to blood sugar levels, plaque buildup, and your body’s ability to compensate for PAD. PAD is a disease of chronic inflammation. Diet & exercise together can do a lot to regulate that.
Why Diet Matters
As Dr. Stout explains: “without necessary dietary resources, the body can’t heal and prevent further degradation.” Diet is a major contributing factor to arterial disease. Foods high in cholesterol are a major cause of plaque buildup and increased blood pressure, so eating healthy is important in improving your health.
As a rule, we encourage more fruits and vegetables and less red meat and dairy. You should also make sure to eat smaller portions in individual sittings to reduce stress on your circulatory system.
How Exercise Helps
Exercising is a great way to improve vascular health, as it keeps blood flowing and prevents further plaque buildup. Additionally, exercising regularly helps grow new blood vessels and can increase the size of blood vessels in your body. This helps minimize the impact blockages have on your arteries. And endorphins and hormones that release with exercise also do a lot to minimize inflammation in your body!
Walking and cardiovascular exercise are incredibly beneficial, but anything that elevates your heart rate is good. You should make a point of exercising once a day or as much as is feasible.
Follow Your Medication Regimen
A major lifestyle change that patients have to adjust to is the introduction of medications to improve arterial health. After all, our goal is to alleviate chronic inflammation and medications are a very effective way to do that. Using statins, aspirin, and other anti-inflammatory medication is usually the first step. You may receive a prescription for more powerful medication as necessary.
We work with patients to maintain their medication regimen and create a treatment plan they can follow. This may seem like a simple lifestyle change, but it requires diligence and attention to detail.
Severe PAD will require dedicated care and effort to heal. That’s why we treat PAD recovery as an ongoing care process.
The Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team won’t just provide you care and wish you well. We will stay in touch, and schedule a followup ultrasound 1-3 months post-treatment. This gives us the opportunity to see how recovery is going and identify if your arteries are responding successfully to treatment and staying open. After that, we schedule another visit in 6 months. Then, yearly treatments.
Ensuring your full recovery is a permanent recovery means we will continue working with you during your treatment, early results, and beyond. We are a lifetime partner in your vascular care journey.
Potential Surgical Intervention
While lifestyle changes are a critical part of peripheral artery disease recovery, they may not be enough. Once you have PAD, you are always going to be a PAD patient. As a result, further down the line, you may require angioplasty and stenting, atherectomy, or even amputation—though Dr. Stout offers comprehensive limb salvage support to minimize that risk.
Sometimes, if your condition is severe, it’s necessary to perform a peripheral artery bypass. This procedure requires hospital admission and will necessitate multi-day recovery in the hospital after the procedure.
Many of these procedures take hours—again, a peripheral artery bypass requires a hospital stay—but break down the plaque to clear blood vessels or allow blood to bypass blocked arteries outright.
We recognize that talking about severe cases like this can be frightening. There’s nobody who better understands how daunting arterial disease can feel than the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team. Still, it’s important to know that even when things look dire, there’s always an opportunity for care!
As we’re sure you noticed, most of what we describe as lifestyle changes are actually just elements of holistic vascular support. Even surgery or invasive procedures are just tools to supplement that lifestyle overhaul.
These kinds of lifestyle changes can’t happen alone and won’t succeed in a vacuum. And the truth is that just the team at Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center isn’t enough, either. This is a team effort. We will work with your primary care physician, loved ones, and any other necessary medical professionals to provide you with quality care for the duration of your recovery and healing.
You’re not in this alone ❤️
Turn to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center
Whether you’re just curious about what kind of doctor treats peripheral artery disease or you’re looking for care, come to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center. Our experience and growing suite of care options allow us to guide you toward lasting wellness solutions for a happier, healthier life.
We are a premier practice in Northwest Arkansas for all the highest-quality vein treatments available. Dr. Haney, Dr. Stout, and the expert staff have over 75 years of combined experience in the industry. Patients come to Dr. Haney from all over Northwestern Arkansas, from Fayetteville to Bentonville, to ensure they receive the best concierge-level care and leg vein procedures available.
After all, helping people is what we do, and it is our mission to provide the people of Northwestern Arkansas and beyond with the absolute best care possible.
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