Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a fairly common circulatory problem in which the blood flow to the limbs is reduced. The good news is that living a healthy lifestyle can often help with PAD and its symptoms. Here is some more information about PAD and exercises you can do to help treat it.
What are the symptoms of PAD?
When your limbs don’t get enough blood, it can result in symptoms such as leg and arm pain, including cramping. This pain can be very serious or just mildly annoying. If it is left untreated, it may disrupt your day-to-day life, including your sleep. Your limbs may also feel numb, weak, or cold, and there may be a weak pulse in your legs and feet, or no pulse at all. You may notice shiny skin or a change in color on your legs and sores on your legs or feet that don’t heal. There may be pain even when doing simple tasks such as writing, and men may have erectile dysfunction.
If PAD isn’t treated, it can become very serious, causing ulcers, gangrene, or even tissue death.
What exercises can help treat PAD?
As always, you should check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. You should also avoid exercises that are “high impact,” such as dancing or rock climbing – walking is the best way to prevent PAD because it elevates your heart rate but is low impact.
To begin, you should walk for at least 5 days a week. Start slow, with the goal of increasing the length of your walks by 5 minutes each week. Eventually, you want to be able to walk for 45 minutes at a time.
Another way to help with PAD symptoms is to eat a healthy diet and quit smoking. If you have noticed PAD symptoms you should see your doctor so he or she can screen for this disease and, if you have it, make sure it is being managed.
If you are concerned you may have PAD or need help dealing with this disease, Dr. Sammy A. Zakhary can help. Call the Glendale, Arizona, office today at (623) 258-3255.