Critical limb ischemia is the most severe type of peripheral artery disease (PAD) that a person can have. In essence, it’s a severe blockage of the arteries in the lower limbs caused by a build-up of plaque on the interior walls.
So how serious is the problem?
Studies have shown that the mortality rate for critical limb ischemia (CLI) sufferers can exceed 50%. This is higher than many cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, there is also evidence to suggest that amputation rates for those diagnosed with CLI can reach 40%
While critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a progressive disease exacerbated by the conditions brought on by peripheral artery disease, there are wholesale changes you can make to stop any progression. With this in mind, here are 8 lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your risk.
Smoking can cause a lot of problems to the body particularly the lungs and heart, but did you know that smoking causes a fatty build up on the walls of your arteries over time? This can increase your risk of developing PAD and eventually critical limb ischemia.
If you have tried in the past to stop smoking but can’t it’s well worth talking to your doctor who should be able to recommend one or more therapies to help.
Obesity can contribute to a wide range of health problems including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. These, in turn, can increase the risk of developing PAD and eventually, critical limb ischemia.
Consider adopting a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oils and fish or adopt the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Alternatively, contact your doctor who can advise you on a healthy eating plan to promote a healthier lifestyle.
If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s important especially as you get older to move more. Simple activities such as walking can be sufficient enough to get the blood flowing which can prevent escalating problems like critical limb Ischemia.
As a recommendation, it’s always best to speak with your doctor before you decide to embark on any change in your exercise routine.
Take back control of your diabetes
Did you know that people with diabetes are four times more likely to develop the devastating effects of critical limb ischemia than those who are diabetes-free?
Adopting a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and carefully monitoring your sugar intake are great ways to control your insulin levels and take back control of your diabetes. Talk to your doctor about how you can do this.
Lower cholesterol levels
By avoiding transient (trans) fats found in foods like margarine, cutting down on saturated fats found in red meat and some dairy products, and eating more omega-3-rich products, it is possible to bring cholesterol down to a healthy level. Always talk to your doctor before making any wholesale dietary changes. They may be able to recommend you to a dietician who can give you a clearer picture of what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Lowering your blood pressure
If you do have high blood pressure you are certainly more at risk from developing PAD and eventually critical limb Ischemia.
The good news is that by taking one or more of the steps above you may already be contributing towards lowering your blood pressure levels. Other actions to consider may also be to:
- Reduce stress where possible
- Limit alcohol intake
- Decrease caffeine and,
- Lower your salt intake
Strongly consider your age and genetics
As you get older and/or you have a family history of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up) or you have had someone in the family who has suffered from critical limb ischemia, then it’s important to get proactive with your vascular health. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with vascular problems at this time, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you can do to promote better vascular health.
Take advantage of treatment options available
If you are in the unfortunate position to have been diagnosed with PAD, it’s worth taking full advantage of all the treatment options available to you, Be aware that if the problem isn’t dealt with, then it can turn into critical limb ischemia. Recognise the signs of CLI such as:
- Thickening of the toenails
- Absent or diminished pulse in the lower limbs
- Open sores, ulcers, and skin infections that won’t heal
- Dry black skin on the legs and feet
- Severe pain or numbness in the lower limbs
… and seek help immediately.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, feel that you need of a vascular check-up, or are concerned about critical limb ischemia, then contact Dr Akinwande and the team at the Midwest Institute for Non-surgical therapy.
We use the latest technology and techniques to ensure that you get the medical care you deserve. By delivering the same outstanding levels of care and compassion to our patients, as we would our loved ones, we want you to know that you are in capable and compassionate hands. Call today and schedule a consultation.