Peripheral artery disease affects millions of Americans, and many suffer unaware because this condition may cause mild or no symptoms. A buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries or atherosclerosis is the primary cause of PAD. Sometimes this condition may be due to blood vessel inflammation, radiation exposure, and injury to the arms and legs. Treatment for peripheral arterial disease Coconut Creek focuses on reducing symptoms and preventing disease progression. Healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage peripheral artery disease or lower your risk for this condition. They include:

Don’t smoke

Smoking tobacco is a dangerous habit and a major risk factor for peripheral artery disease. The nicotine in tobacco narrows our blood vessels, limiting blood supply to your body parts, including your limbs. Smoking also increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and cancers of the colon and lungs. While quitting may be difficult, especially for chronic smokers, effective tools such as behavior modification and nicotine replacement medicines may help. Besides helping slow the progression of PAD, quitting smoking also lowers your risk of other heart-related diseases.

Stay active

Regular exercise is an effective and healthy way to lower your risk of peripheral artery disease. However, it is best to check with your doctor to know the type and intensity of exercise that is best for you. Your doctor may recommend supervised exercise therapy; you will begin slowly as you build up. Simple leg exercises, walking regimens, and treadmill exercise programs can ease PAD symptoms.

Patients who experience claudication or leg pain usually require special exercises. Their program consists of alternating activities and rests to give them time to walk before pain sets in. Such programs are best done in a rehabilitation center and under supervision. If you can’t go to a rehabilitation center, your healthcare provider may recommend a structured community or home-based program.

Eat healthy foods

One common characteristic in people with peripheral artery disease is elevated cholesterol levels. Therefore, you want to avoid foods high in saturated and trans fat to lower your blood cholesterol levels. Sometimes doctors prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication. Strive for a healthy diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may include low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, seeds, and non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil. Reduce your intake of added sugars, red meat, and saturated fats.

Control blood sugar

Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of poor outcomes among people with peripheral artery disease. If you have diabetes, it is best to ensure your glucose or sugar levels are at a healthy range. Doing so can reduce limb-related complications in individuals with peripheral artery disease. Working with your healthcare team will help you learn ways to control your blood sugar. For example, your doctor may prescribe medications for glucose management, advise on foot care and ulcer prevention, and help you manage other cardiovascular risk factors.

In addition to lifestyle changes, foot care is vital for patients with PAD, especially those with diabetes, since they risk poor wound healing.

If you are at risk of peripheral artery disease, consult your doctor at South Florida Vascular Associates to learn about lowering your risk.