One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has Peripheral artery disease (PAD).(1)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition where narrow arteries block the flow of blood to the limbs. If you develop this condition, in most cases, legs do not receive blood supply in enough amounts to support your body. This, in turn, causes leg pain while walking.
Peripheral artery disease indicates the problem of atherosclerosis, i.e. a relatively high accumulation of plaque or other fatty deposits in your arteries. Apart from your legs, this condition might also reduce the blood flow to your brain and heart.(3)
What Is The Prognosis For Peripheral Artery Disease?
When fatty deposits build up on the walls of your artery and reduce the blood flow, it results in peripheral artery disease. Some of the causes of this condition include radiation exposure, abnormal anatomy of your muscles or ligaments, injury to your limbs, and blood vessel inflammation. Here are some of the factors can cause peripheral artery disease:
- High levels of homocysteine, a protein
- Increasing age
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
People suffering from diabetes or those smoking have a higher risk of developing this condition. Those who develop peripheral artery disease are also at risk of developing critical limb ischemia or at risk of a stroke. When there is reduced blood flow to your legs, any sores or injury or infections in your legs don’t heal, sometimes, leading to amputation of that limb. Researches have shown that individuals with PAD majorly die to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and eventually die due to a heart attack.
Lifestyle Changes For Peripheral Artery Disease
Many people can control the symptoms of peripheral artery disease and prevent the acceleration of the disease through lifestyle adjustments. Here are some of the ways to improve and stabilize PAD:
Stop Smoking: Smoking adds to compression and damage of your arteries and is a vital hazard for the formation and worsening of PAD. Smoking will not only complicate your condition but also put you at risk of various other diseases. If you are an addict and cannot quit on your own, seek professional help.
Exercise: This is a pivotal element. If you are getting treated for PAD, the best way you can measure its success if by walking as much as you can without any pain. Exercising properly helps your muscles to utilize oxygen more effectively. However, don’t start exercising on your own. It sure is easier to watch YouTube and hop on to different exercises but this can backfire. PAD causes weakness in your legs and requires an appropriate exercise plan. Go to your physician and see what exercise rehabilitation she/he provides.
Eating Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is as it is very important for your overall well-being. So if you have PAD, a diet low in saturated fat can do wonders. It helps in managing your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which eventually help in lessening the risk of peripheral artery disease.
Foot Care: Another important thing is to take good care of your feet. People who develop PAD, especially those who have diabetes, don’t get their feet injuries and sores healed that easily. Also, poor blood circulation restricts proper healing and doubles the risk of infection. Thus, here are some ways on how to take care of your feet:
- Wash your feet thoroughly and daily. Once you dry them, moisturize them for preventing cracks. Avoid moisturizing between the toes as it encourages fungal growth.
- Wear thick, dry and well-fitting socks
- If you have any fungal infection of the feet, get it treated immediately.
- Trim your nails properly. Avoid hurting yourself while doing so.
- Go to a podiatrist at the first sign of any injury or sore.
- Seek professional help for treating calluses, corns, and bunions.(4)
Peripheral artery disease is frustrating and exercising for its improvement causes pain. The key is to keep on going and not getting discouraged. You will likely have to visit a specialist to get PAD treated.
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- Recovery Period of Peripheral Artery Disease & its Prognosis|Diet, Exercise, Yoga for Peripheral Artery Disease