Your arteries are under attack. 230 million people throughout the world have peripheral artery disease (PAD).
PAD is no joke. You have to make some serious lifestyle changes to avoid heart failure or nerve damage. Thankfully, peripheral artery disease treatment is easy to follow.
What symptoms can you expect, and how can you deal with them? What changes do you have to make to your diet and exercise routine? What are surgical procedures for PAD like?
Answer these questions and you can get your PAD under control in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Cope With Your Symptoms
Some people with peripheral artery disease show no major symptoms. Yet you may experience cramping, numbness, or pain in one or both feet.
If you encounter these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about them. Extreme pain in your feet may be a sign of a blood clot or tissue damage.
But for the most part, you can deal with your pain and symptoms on your own. You should stretch your feet to encourage blood flow to all of your tissues. You can lift weights with your feet and flex your toes to promote muscle growth in them.
PAD may accompany another disease like diabetes, which has its own set of symptoms. Make sure you are taking care of all of the conditions that are affecting your health at once.
Care For Your Feet
PAD is a type of cardiovascular disease, but it affects your feet more than your heart. If you cut or bruise your foot, the wound may be slow to heal because of the lack of blood in your foot. You are also more likely to get a fungal infection or dry skin on your feet.
You should clean your feet every day using warm water. Dry them off with a cloth, and then rub a moisturizing cream over your skin. Don’t rub the moisturizer in between your toes because you can develop an athlete’s foot infection.
Take Your Medications
There is no one medicine for PAD. If you have high levels of bad cholesterol, you may need to take a statin. A statin reduces the production of cholesterol in your liver, which can help reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
If you have high blood pressure, you can take an antihypertensive medication. The drug will block the production of hormones that increase your blood pressure. This can result in dizziness or weakness, especially as you take the drug for the first time.
Blood-thinning medications can break down blood clots in your arteries, including ones outside of your legs. However, they can create severe headaches and chronic dizziness.
You should only take medicine for PAD if you have your doctor’s approval. Track your side effects and adjust your dosages accordingly.
Exercise can make it easier to cope with pain, and it can break blood clots down. If you have an exercise routine already, you should continue to follow it. But if you’ve never exercised before, you need to start doing so.
Stop driving your car and try walking to the store if it’s close to your house. Go out for a walk at night and go as far as you can until you become uncomfortable.
When it’s too cold to walk, you can ride an exercise bike or lift weights. You can also walk up and down the stairs in your house, though you should wear shoes so you don’t scratch your feet.
Eat a Healthier Diet
You will need to cut down on your consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. An easy way to avoid both is to stop eating red meat.
Substitute beef and pork with poultry and non-animal sources of protein. Nuts, beans, and soy products can fill you up without building plaques in your arteries.
You should also avoid butter and margarine. You can cook with olive oil, or you can put seasonings over your bread for added flavor instead of butter.
Stop Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Heavy drinking can enlarge the walls of the heart, which can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. You can have a glass of wine every now and again, but avoid beer and hard liquors entirely.
You must stop smoking right away. Cigarette smoke produces chemicals that can cause the blood to harden, resulting in blood clots. Talk to a psychiatrist about ways you can cope with stress without smoking.
Prepare for Surgery
Surgery may be necessary in order to restore the blood flow in your legs. An angioplasty involves widening a blocked blood vessel with a small balloon. A doctor will use a catheter to place the balloon in your artery, then they will pump air in it to break the clot down.
The procedure takes less than two hours, and you can go home the same day. You should avoid intense exercise for a week after the procedure. You should look at your different options for angioplasty, comparing this office to another one.
If an angioplasty doesn’t work, a doctor can perform an artery bypass graft. They will transplant blood vessels from another part of your body and graft them to your blocked artery. You will be unconscious during the procedure, and you may need to recover over a couple of weeks.
Understand Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment
Peripheral artery disease treatment is simple yet effective. You may experience pain, so you should build strength in your feet through stretches and exercise.
Medications can reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure rates. Follow your doctor’s instructions so you don’t encounter side effects like headaches and dizziness.
You are going to have to exercise several times a week and adopt a healthy diet. You may receive surgery if you can’t control your PAD, but most people avoid angioplasties.
PAD is only one form of heart disease. Read more guides to heart disease by following our coverage.