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Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease or peripheral arterial disease, otherwise known as PAD, is a condition that prevents your extremities from getting enough blood flow. Typically affecting your legs, PAD is often a sign that there is a build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries which can cause leg pain while walking (claudication.) The good news is that healthy, everyday activities can be a great treatment for this condition.

What to Look Out For

Since the plaque build-up is happening in your blood vessels, the evidence of this illness can be difficult to physically see, though you will likely feel it in other ways. Claudication affects each person differently both in the type of symptoms and their severity. 

  • Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs, or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in your lower leg or foot
  • Sores on your toes, feet, or legs that won’t heal
  • A change in the color of your legs
  • Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
  • Slower growth of your toenails
  • Shiny skin on your legs
  • No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Pain when using your arms, such as aching and cramping when knitting, writing, or doing other manual tasks

You could experience many of the above or maybe just a few. While many of these signs can be seen as just normal parts of aging, they can also be a sign of PAD and therefore symptoms that you’ll want to have your doctor check out. 

Furthermore, if you are 65 or over 50 with a history of smoking or diabetes, it would be a good idea to ask for a peripheral artery disease screening to make sure you’re not at risk of developing the disease or already experiencing it without symptoms. 

How do you get it?

PAD develops from something called atherosclerosis, this simply means fatty deposits build up in your arteries and restrict blood flow. Any number of factors can increase your chances of developing PAD including:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Increasing age, especially after age 65 
  • A family history of heart disease

What can I do to prevent or treat PAD?

This may be surprising, but the best method to combat PAD is simply living a healthy lifestyle. Put some effort into lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure levels if they’re high. You can also exercise regularly and maintain a good diet with foods low in saturated fat. And we’re sure you’ve heard this one before, stop smoking! 

These aren’t just the keys to preventing peripheral artery disease but great ways to stay fit and healthy overall! Talk to your doctor about screening for PAD and stay on top of your health for easy living as you age.

Healthy Hive

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