If you have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), you may deal with leg pain. And that leg pain may tempt you 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, of course, but especially for individuals who have PAD.
What is PAD?
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), also known as Peripheral Vascular Disease, is 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 and primarily affects the legs.
Not everyone has symptoms in the early stages of PAD. However, for those who do, the most common ones are pain, cramping and discomfort in the legs, calves, thighs or buttocks. The pain occurs when walking, climbing stairs or exercising, but usually goes away during rest.
How Does Walking Help with PAD?
A recent study confirms what we already knew; walking can reduce leg pain in people who are living with PAD. Published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, the review concluded that, for people with PAD, exercise programs may help improve walking ability and quality of life by relieving symptoms of leg pain, cramps and fatigue.
How Can I Make Physical Activity a Way of Life?
If you aren’t already in the habit of being physically active, we encourage you to think about it. Regular physical activity is good for so many reasons! It 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. And as we’ve learned, it can help with relieving symptoms of PAD.
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.
Tips for Getting Started
- 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.
- Try to exercise at the same time each day so it becomes a regular part of your daily routine.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. That’s only 30 minutes a day, five days a week!
- Accountability! Ask a friend to join you.
Tips to Keep You Going
- Find your tribe. Having a support system will help you stay accountable. Get your family and friends involved.
- Join an exercise group, health club or local community center.
- Mix it up! Jog, swim or ride a bike. Variety can help prevent boredom or burnout.
- If you miss a day (or week), don’t get discouraged. Just start again and work up to your old pace.
PAD Treatments at Lam Vascular
If your PAD symptoms become lifestyle-limiting, we may recommend intervention. Lam Vascular & Associates offers laser atherectomy as well as balloon angioplasty and stenting. These procedures are minimally invasive and 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.
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! And if you need us, we are here for you, with locations in Dallas, Rockwall, Arlington and Sunnyvale.