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Walk Your Way to Better Vascular Health

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Walking Program

As temperatures warm up in our area and springtime buds and blooms abound, find time in your day to get outdoors and walk your way to better health.

If you’ve experienced Peripheral Artery Disease, you may have chronic leg pain that causes you to avoid activity. Sometimes called Peripheral Vascular Disease, PAD can make any activity—running errands or mowing the lawn—extremely uncomfortable. But pushing past your discomfort to become more active is key for managing this condition.

Recognizing Early Symptoms of PAD

Early warning signs of PAD include leg pain such as muscular cramping or uncomfortable legs, calves, thighs or buttocks caused by plaque buildup (due to atherosclerosis), which makes circulation difficult through the arteries. While not everyone experiences symptoms, leg pain caused by PAD typically dissipates during rest. 

If your PAD symptoms worsen or restrict your enjoyment of your daily life, Lam Vascular & Associates can help. We offer minimally invasive, in-office treatment options that include laser atherectomy and balloon angioplasty and stenting, which mean no overnight stay (in most cases) and a faster recovery time. At The Lam Vascular Limb Salvage Center, our state-of-the-art technology ensures you feel more like you again as quickly and as safely as possible.

How Walking Can Help PAD Patients Like You

It’s no secret that regular exercise is key to good health, but here’s why staying mobile is so beneficial if you have PAD or in helping you prevent arterial disease.

Caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries of the extremities, PAD prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the muscles and raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. An active lifestyle can reduce your risks for obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are often associated with PAD. Smoking also puts you at a higher risk for early onset PAD, so if you haven’t quit yet, consider this a nudge to do so.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Walking Program

1. Like any exercise program, walking can be challenging when you’re first beginning, so start slowly and make sure your physician supports your being active.

2. Drink plenty of water before you start and after you finish, and keep a bottle of water with you as needed.

3. Try walking in place in your home if you consider yourself at risk for falls or be sure to walk with a buddy. 

4. Choose a familiar path in an area where you feel comfortable and safe.

5. Schedule your walks for the same time each day so you develop a habit.

6. Find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable and check in with them regularly.

7. Consider adopting a dog, if you don’t already have one, as the perfect walking partner.

8. Keep track of your progress and record how you feel before and after your walks. Note any changes in your pain levels.

9. Remember that walking doesn’t have to be a round trip adventure. Make a fun destination part of your journey.

10. Calculate your progress and consider setting a goal for the distance or time you spend walking. Wouldn’t it be fun to consider how far you can walk in six weeks or six months’ time? 

Know Your Risks, Consider the Alternatives 

If you think you might be among one in 20 Americans over the age of 50 with PAD, talk to your doctor. Your risk factors increase if two or more of the following describe you:

  • Diabetic
  • Have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels 
  • Experienced heart disease such as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  • Current or past smoker
  • Family history of heart or vascular disease
  • Overweight (BMI over 30) with a sedentary lifestyle
  • Over 70 years old (or over 50 if you also smoke and/or have diabetes)

While a sedentary lifestyle is certainly less than ideal and can lead to myriad health issues, consider all you might miss out on in life if you let PAD limit your activities. Get active and find ways to keep moving. If you need professional medical care, we are here to help at Lam Vascular & Associates, with convenient offices in Dallas, Rockwall, Greenville, Arlington and Sunnyvale

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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