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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Making changes to lifestyle habits can help some people ease symptoms, slow the disease, and improve heart health. Here are some steps that can be taken:

Quit Smoking

Smoking narrows and damages blood vessels. This lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood. Both of these things lower the amount of oxygen that is in the legs and feet. Chemicals in smoke can also lead to plaque buildup over time. People who smoke should talk to their doctor about ways to quit. Steps should also be taken to avoid secondhand smoke.

Exercise

Exercise can help new, small blood vessels grow. These blood vessels can grow in areas with poor blood flow. This can let blood flow to tissues that need it, which may ease symptoms. Regular exercise can also promote overall health and lower the risk of things that lead to PAD, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. People who are new to exercise should talk to their doctors before they start.

Eat Healthful Diet

Eat a heart healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in fat. This can lower the risk of health problems that can lead to PAD.

Monitor Foot Health

People with PAD are at greater risk of foot problems, such as sores and injuries. These problems can lead to amputation. Poor blood flow can make it hard to feel foot problems. A daily foot exam can help people find problems early when they can be treated.

References

Peripheral artery disease (PAD). American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/peripheral-artery-disease. Accessed March 24, 2022.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/PAD.htm. Accessed March 24, 2022.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/peripheral-artery-disease-pad-of-lower-extremities. Accessed March 24, 2022.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of upper extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/peripheral-artery-disease-pad-of-upper-extremities. Accessed March 24, 2022.