Understanding common risk factors for Peripheral Artery Disease is the first step in preventing the condition. However, if you or a loved one understands they are already at risk for developing PAD, there are several immediate actions and PAD treatments that can help mitigate the disease.
Not sure if you’re at risk for PAD? Take our PAD quiz.
If untreated, PAD can be as fatal as heart disease and lead to extreme outcomes like limb amputation and loss of mobility. Making positive, daily lifestyle changes can help to reduce the risk of PAD developing into a far worse and irreparable condition.
In order to fully understand PAD, one must have an understanding of what causes PAD and its symptoms. Simply put, when plaque builds up in the arteries supplying blood to extremities it causes a narrowing in the passages. Thus, reducing the flow of blood which could lead to various symptoms such as:
- Sores that won’t heal.
- Numbness/pain in the legs
- Color changes in the feet (i.e. becoming blue/pale)
It’s important to note that PAD symptoms are not uniform in age, race or gender.
Talk to Your Doctor
Because PAD symptoms vary from person to person, it’s important to seek medical attention and advice in order to help create paths of treatments that make the most sense on an individual level. Start by discussing concerns with a primary care physician or seek counsel from a PAD specialist in the area.
If you’re a smoker, quitting is the single best way to reduce your risk of developing PAD. Period. Smoking increases the odds you’ll develop PAD by 400%.
Incorporating movement on a daily basis will not only improve mental health, but studies show it helps folks who are able to exercise unsupervised drastically reduce the risk of developing PAD. A 20 minute daily walk can be effective in reducing PAD risk.
Striving to achieve a healthy weight and cutting fats can significantly reduce the body’s risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Replace saturated fats like red meat, butter and whole milk with unsaturated fats like salmon, avocados and olive oil to help maintain a healthy cholesterol level and healthy weight.
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