- Posted August 30, 2014 by
Living with PAD: A Guide to Peripheral Arterial Disease
If you’ve just been diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease (or PAD, as it is often known) you probably have a lot of questions regarding the nature of the condition and just how it is going to affect your existing lifestyle.
The good news is that PAD can be improved by making certain changes to your diet and improving your levels of fitness. It is generally treatable, and in most cases, the prognosis is very good, providing you take the right measures to address the problem.
Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Brief Description
PAD is a condition that affects the arteries in your legs or arms, hence the use of the word ‘peripheral’. In the vast majority of cases, it will occur in the legs. The arteries in the legs may narrow or harden, restricting blood flow to the legs and feet; and this narrowing is caused by atheroma, or fatty patches, which adhere to the inside lining of the artery. The severity of the condition is determined by a number of factors, such as family history, gender, ethnic group and lifestyle.
It is a common condition, and more prevalent in those over the age of 50.
What Causes PAD?
There are many reasons why you may have developed Peripheral Arterial Disease. Unfortunately, some contributing factors are unavoidable, such as genetic disposition, age and gender (it’s more common in males) according to CardioVascular Solutions Institute in Bradenton, Florida.
However, other contributing factors are avoidable, and include:
Over-consumption of alcohol
PAD can also be exacerbated by other medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Improving the Symptoms of PAD
In certain cases, medical treatment may be recommended and it is important, before embarking on any self-help treatment, to talk to a qualified doctor, who can advise you on how best to address the condition.
If your symptoms are particularly severe, you may be advised to have surgery to address the problem. The most common form of surgery to treat PAD is the insertion of a stent within the artery, but this is a relatively minor surgical procedure and only minimally invasive.
In all cases, there are many changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of your life.
Quitting smoking. If you only adopt one lifestyle change, make it this one. Quitting smoking is the single most effective thing you can do for yourself, and will not only lessen the symptoms of PAD, but also reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke too.
Change your diet. A healthy diet will help alleviate the symptoms. Enjoy a diet that is rich in green vegetables and fresh fruit, with fish and lean, rather than fatty meat. Avoid too much salt and limit the amount of fat in your diet.
Exercise. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start slowly and build up your stamina over time. Even walking for half an hour each day can help with your PAD symptoms.
Want to Find Out More About Your Options?
If you suffer from PAD and want to find out more about the options available to you, then the next step is to talk to a specialist medical expert. They’ll be able to provide diagnostic tests to assess the severity of your condition, and then advise you on the best course of action to take.