If you’re one of the 6.5 million people, age 40 or over, in the United States who has peripheral artery disease (PAD), there’s good news and bad. The bad news is that you can’t reverse PAD, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to keep the condition from worsening and prevent more serious cardiovascular problems.
As a board-certified cardiovascular disease expert, Dr James Kim has extensive experience helping patients with PAD. While there’s much that we can do on our end, the steps you take to better manage your PAD are equally as important, starting with these five.
1. Get moving
PAD occurs when the blood vessels in your extremities narrow, possibly compromising the blood flow to your limbs. One of the best ways to prevent the narrowing from progressing is to get up and move. This encourages better circulation.
If your PAD leads to pain when you exercise, we recommend that you start slowly and build — perhaps a quick morning or evening walk to get started. You can also try exercising in intervals, walking until you feel discomfort and then resting a bit before getting started again.
We’re happy to provide you with more exercise tips to help you reap the many benefits of this approach to better managing PAD.
2. Manage your cholesterol
Most people with PAD have elevated levels of cholesterol in their bloodstream. Now is the time to pay close attention to cholesterol management, which means cutting out saturated fats, taking the cholesterol medications we prescribe, and focusing on a diet that favors fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3. Manage your diabetes
If you have diabetes and you’ve developed PAD, it’s extremely important to redouble your efforts at controlling your blood sugar. We urge you to work with your primary provider to control your diabetes.
4. Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker and you’ve been diagnosed with PAD, now is the time to quit. The CDC reports that smoking not only increases your risk for PAD, it can make your symptoms worse.
If you want some help quitting smoking, there are ample resources to help you make this important step. As an example, click on this link to access apps, videos, and more links for smoking cessation programs.
5. See us regularly
It’s important that you have a cardiologist monitor your PAD, so we urge you to come see us regularly so we can monitor your cholesterol, blood pressure, and general heart health. As PAD progresses, it can lead to more severe symptoms, as well as potentially dangerous complications such as heart disease.
Through Dr. Kim’s vigilant oversight, we can keep close track of your PAD and slow (or even halt) its progression through medications and lifestyle changes.
For expert and experienced management of your PAD, please contact one of our locations in Chula Vista or National City, California, to set up an appointment.