Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects 6.5 million people over the age of 40 in the United States, putting them at risk for far more serious cardiovascular issues down the road. Thankfully, you can make a few lifestyle changes to manage and improve this serious health concern.
Our experienced team of cardiovascular experts at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists believes that education plays an extremely role in helping our patients maintain optimal heart health. The fact is that heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the US, but these deaths are also among the most preventable.
With that in mind, here are five steps you can take to better manage your PAD.
1. Taking your first step
Your first step in managing PAD is just that — taking a step. Exercise is one of the best ways to encourage healthier circulation in your limbs, but we aren’t talking about hitting the gym or running a marathon.
A small, daily walk around your neighborhood is a great way to get the blood flowing, especially down in your legs. You should start small and stop if pain begins to develop in your legs. As you continue your daily efforts, you’ll slowly be able to increase the time and distance you’re able to walk, and before you know it, your PAD symptoms will be greatly improved.
2. Limit fat
PAD is often caused by plaque buildup in your blood vessels, and one of the primary contributors to this buildup is saturated fats. Instead of diving into that steak or munching on a bag of chips, opt for lean meat like chicken, and grab a handful of carrots when you feel like snacking. By swapping out a few of the fatty foods you eat each day, you can prevent further buildup while also giving your body the nutrients it needs for optimal cardiovascular health.
3. Shed some pounds
The above two tips will go a long way toward this important recommendation for managing your PAD. We know that losing all of your excess weight might seem like an enormous hurdle, so we suggest that you start out small. The CDC reports that losing just 5-10% of your excess body weight can garner amazing health benefits, especially when it comes to your blood vessels and heart.
4. Ditch the tobacco and nicotine
We’re sure you’re already aware of the dangers of using tobacco and nicotine, whether you smoke or vape. Smoking and vaping have a direct impact on your cardiovascular health and are the leading risk factors when it comes to PAD.
If you have PAD, we urge you to make this the reason you finally quit as it will greatly reduce your symptoms and your risks for developing more serious complications.
5. Manage your health
If you have related health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, it’s imperative that you manage these conditions to control your PAD. Many of the tips we outline above will help with managing conditions like hypertension, but if you have diabetes, you need to ensure that you properly regulate your blood sugar levels, as well.
The bottom line is that there’s no cure for PAD once it develops, but there are many ways that we can manage the condition. Between the lifestyle changes we outline above and our oversight, we can help you lead a happy and active life despite your PAD. To learn more, contact one of our three locations in Mountain View, Monterey, or Watsonville, California.