In the US alone, over 8 million adults suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD) and while it’s thought that there is no real ‘cure’, evidence suggests that it is possible to reduce some or many of the symptoms associated with it by adopting simple lifestyle changes. In doing so, these simple changes can greatly lessen the chance of developing more serious problems including;
- Heart attacks
- Coronary heart disease
So if you are one of the unfortunate sufferers and feel that you want to fight back, then here are 2 vital lifestyle changes that you really should be making…
Treatment for peripheral artery disease – Regular exercise
There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that when taken regularly, gentle exercise can help to reduce many of the symptoms of PAD. Usually, this involves group exercise sessions or supervised exercise of around 2 hours per week.
One of the best exercises that people with peripheral artery disease can do is walking. Otherwise known as cardiac rehabilitation, this form of rehabilitation is best carried out in a rehabilitation center on a treadmill. Here’s how it works…
It’s recommended that PAD sufferers start off slowly and walk as far and as long as they can before any leg pain becomes too much. At this point, patients are advised to take a short rest until any pain subsides, and then restart the exercise until they feel discomfort again.
The idea is to build up around 30 minutes of walking per session and each session should be repeated several times per week
Initially, this may seem challenging as any pain felt can be upsetting. However, research suggests that this stop-start method works and for those that persevere, the rewards are good with a gradual but marked improvement in their symptoms, allowing patients to go for longer periods without pain.
Don’t worry if you can’t get to a rehabilitation center, your designated health care professional should be able to recommend a structured home-based program that best suits your current situation.
Treatment for peripheral artery disease – quit smoking
Another vital lifestyle change you can make in your fight against the symptoms of peripheral artery disease is to kick the habit of smoking. Smoking endangers the health of your arteries.
When you smoke, it can lead to an increased formation of waxy cholesterol and other particles (otherwise known as plaque) which can build up on your artery walls. When too much plaque forms, it can cause the arteries to narrow and restrict any blood flow.
So what happens when you quit?
According to research, after just 1 year of quitting, the risk of developing complications from PAD are reduced by as much as 50%. Moreover, after 5 years or longer of not smoking, the risk of developing serious complications is equal to that of someone who has never smoked. This startling research shows that quitting smoking can have a hugely beneficial impact on the ongoing treatment for peripheral artery disease. Some top tips for quitting smoking are:
- Have a plan complete with a quit date and stick to it
- Consider your diet – certain foods such as cheese, vegetables, and fruit can make cigarettes taste terrible
- Identify when you crave cigarettes most and develop coping strategies
- Look at the long-term goal – health benefits, money-saving, etc.
- Get some support if necessary.
While other lifestyle changes such as eating a better diet and losing weight can also help in the prevention of serious symptoms from PAD, regular exercise and quitting smoking are perhaps the 2 most vital changes you can make if you are seeking out treatment for peripheral artery disease.
If you are experiencing problems from PAD and would like to talk to a professional then come and talk to Dr. Akinwande at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy. In addition to good advice, we offer state-of-the-art treatments carried out in a modern setting. Call today to schedule an appointment.