When it comes to peripheral artery disease, risk factors – or rather, the causes behind the problem – are numerous. However, while there are some factors we unfortunately can’t control, there are also many that we can. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at those risk factors in greater detail…
Firstly, what about risk factors that we have no control over?
It’s well known that PAD affects over 8.5 million people in the US with the majority of cases being over the age of 60. There is also some evidence to suggest that people of black race/ethnicity or those of Hispanic origin are inherently at higher risk of developing the disease than those of non-black or non-Hispanic origin.
In addition, a person with a family history of peripheral artery disease, strokes or cardiovascular disease can also be deemed at greater risk.
Despite all of the above, if you are black or Hispanic, over the age of 60, and have a family history with the disease, it still doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll end up suffering from peripheral artery
On the contrary, there are many other risk factors that can and do contribute to the problem. These are factors that you can and do have control over. So let’s take a closer look at some of them.
It’s well documented that tobacco smoke is responsible for the increase of a wide variety of health problems and unfortunately developing PAD is one of them.
Did you know, for example, that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop peripheral artery disease than non-smokers? In addition, smoking is also known to worsen the symptoms in PAD sufferers.
It stands to reason, therefore, that stopping smoking is key not only for long-term health benefits but also if you want to lessen any peripheral artery disease risk factors.
Type 2 diabetes
Having diabetes puts you at greater risk of cardiovascular problems, but also places you at greater risk of developing PAD. Often, making simple lifestyle changes like eating healthily, increasing physical activity, and losing weight can dramatically reduce the progression of type 2 diabetes and in turn, should decrease any risk of developing peripheral artery disease.
High blood pressure
Otherwise known as hypertension, high blood pressure can cause problems in the arteries which makes it easier for arterial plaque to appear. This isn’t, however, the same type of sugary plaque that appears on the teeth. On the contrary, this is more of a build-up of cholesterol and other fatty deposits and is known as atherosclerosis. Once plaque forms, the arteries narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow naturally. In turn, this reduces the blood flow into limbs – particularly the legs – and they become painful. This is PAD!
Blood pressure can be lowered or kept low naturally through eating healthily, exercising regularly, and lowering salt intake but in addition, for those people who currently suffer from hypertension, medication such as Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors can also be used to help lower blood pressure levels.
Although obesity has long been associated with a functional decline in those people already suffering from PAD, it’s now thought that those people with a body mass index (BMI) of over 25 are more likely to develop PAD even if they have no other peripheral artery disease risk factors.
Again, stepping up physical activity and eating a balanced healthy diet should ensure that your BMI remains in a healthy range.
As you can see, it is possible to have some degree of control over many of the risk factors associated with peripheral artery disease. So even if you do fall into the category of ‘at higher risk’ through ethnicity, age or genetics, it isn’t in any way a forgone conclusion that you will suffer from the problem.
To find out more about peripheral artery disease risk factors or if you are concerned about the disease, then come and talk to the team at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy. Dr. Akinwande is a highly experienced practitioner specializing in non-surgical solutions to treat many vein and fibroid problems. So call today for an appointment.