If you have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), you may be tempted to decrease your activity level. After all, PAD can make even simple activities, like walking up a flight of stairs or walking to the mailbox, an excruciatingly painful experience. But staying active is important; for everyone but especially for individuals who have PAD.
PAD is caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries of the arms and legs that prevent blood and oxygen from reaching the muscles. The disease raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. If left untreated, PAD can lead to chronic pain (claudication), chronic infections and in the most severe cases, amputation of the limbs. This condition affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States.
PAD is most common in adults over age 50, and is often associated with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. People who smoke are at a higher risk for developing PAD early in life.
How is PAD Treated?
You can do a lot to stop peripheral artery disease in its tracks, such as:
- Controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
There are several prescription drugs that may improve symptoms in people with poor circulation. Some doctors may also prescribe aspirin or other anticlotting drugs.
For severe peripheral artery disease, Dr. Lam or Dr. Duran of Lam Vascular may recommend peripheral artery bypass surgery or a minimally-invasive vascular procedure such as angioplasty and stenting or laser atherectomy.
How Can Physical Activity Become a Way of Life?
If you aren’t in the habit of being physically active, you should be! Regular physical activity reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps in the reduction of other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and diabetes.
In addition to all the health benefits, exercising can help you look and feel better, become stronger and more flexible as well as reduce tension and stress.
How to Start
1. Choose activities you enjoy and make sure it’s convenient for you. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you’re doing something you enjoy.
2. Accountability! Ask a friend to join you.
3. Try to exercise at the same time each day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle.
4. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.
How to Keep Going
1. Find a support system! Get your family and friends involved.
2. Join an exercise group, health club or local community center.
3. Mix it up! Take a brisk walk, swim, ride a bike. Variety is the spice of life!
4. If you stop for any length of time, don’t lose hope. Just start again and work up to your old pace.
Remember, regular exercise can help minimize symptoms, limit pain and ward off disability if you have PAD. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get moving! Call our office today at 214-345-4160 or click here to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lam!
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.