Spotlight on National High Blood Pressure Education Month
Why is blood pressure important enough to have an entire month dedicated to education about it? There are so many reasons!
You probably already know that having high blood pressure can threaten your health and quality of life. In most cases, the damage done by high blood pressure (also called HBP or hypertension) takes place over time. But left undetected or untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke along with a host of other issues like vision loss, kidney disease and even sexual dysfunction.
What you may not know is that high blood pressure has also been linked to an increased risk of developing Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a very common medical condition in which a build-up of plaque due to atherosclerosis makes it difficult for blood to circulate through the arteries. PAD primarily affects the legs but can also damage arteries in the kidneys, abdomen, feet, ankles, pelvis, hips, buttocks and arms. PAD often presents as severe leg pain, slow-healing wounds and cold lower limbs. And left untreated, PAD can lead to amputation.
How Can High Blood Pressure Lead to PAD?
There are many risk factors for PAD, and high blood pressure ranks high on that list. Here’s why.
Having high blood pressure makes it easier for plaque to form. Plaque is a waxy material made up of cholesterol and other fatty deposits, and it can build up in your artery walls (atherosclerosis). As plaque builds up, your arteries can become narrowed and restricted, limiting blood flow. If high blood pressure isn’t controlled, you are much more likely to develop PAD.
Managing High Blood Pressure and PAD
Your best protection if you’re living with either of these related conditions is knowledge and management. At Lam Vascular & Associates, we love to educate our patients about their condition, the lifestyle choices they can make to help manage it and the range of treatment options we have to treat it.
Lifestyle Changes for People with High Blood Pressure and PAD
Many people can manage the symptoms of PAD, stop the progression of the disease and lower their blood pressure through lifestyle changes. To stabilize or improve both conditions:
- Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to constriction and damage of your arteries and is a significant risk factor for the development and worsening of PAD.
- Exercise. Success in the treatment of PAD is often measured by how far you can walk without pain. Proper exercise helps condition your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. Your doctor can help you develop an appropriate exercise plan.
- Eat a healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat can help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which contribute to PAD.
- See a vascular specialist like Dr. Russell Lam of Lam Vascular and Associates. If lifestyle changes are not enough, an experienced vascular specialist will know the next best steps to take.
PAD Treatments at Lam Vascular
If your PAD symptoms become lifestyle-limiting, we may recommend intervention, like a minimally invasive vascular procedure such as laser atherectomy or balloon angioplasty and stenting. These procedures are safely performed in The Lam Vascular Limb Salvage Center using state-of-the-art technology. This allows for a faster recovery and no overnight stay in most cases.
Dr. Lam and the team of vascular experts are Dallas’ trusted resource for comprehensive vascular care, including all things relating to PAD. And our comprehensive PAD Resources Portal has everything you need to learn everything you need to know about this disease.
If you need us, we are here for you, with locations in Dallas, Rockwall, Arlington and Sunnyvale. Your next step matters.