Living with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

After you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), you might wonder what changes to expect in your life. PAD is a chronic, lifelong condition that can cause serious complications without proper management.

The good news is, by making lifestyle changes and seeking treatment when needed, you can stay healthy and live a full, active life. Ayad Agha, DO, our board-certified interventional radiologist and PAD specialist at IYA Medical, shares these tips to help you thrive with PAD.

About peripheral arterial disease

If you have PAD, your arteries are not functioning as they normally would. PAD develops when plaque builds up in your arteries.

Eventually, with enough plaque buildup, it’s hard for blood and oxygen to flow through your arteries. As a result, your extremities, most often your legs and feet, don’t receive enough blood.

Living with PAD can be painful. This condition can cause cramping while walking, throbbing, weakness, a burning sensation, and numbness in your legs and feet. 

Treatment of PAD involves managing your pain while ensuring good blood flow is maintained through your arteries.

How to live with peripheral arterial disease

Living a healthy lifestyle and staying up to date with your treatment plan goes a long way in helping you flourish with PAD. Follow these guidelines to reduce your pain and stay fit after learning you have PAD.

Stay as active as you can

Exercising with PAD can feel painful at first, but in the long run, maintaining as active a lifestyle as you can helps you stay stronger and manage your pain. 

Start with low-impact exercises, such as walking, and take a break if it gets too painful. You can slowly increase your physical capacities over time.

Before starting your exercise program, make an appointment with Dr. Agha so he can assess your overall health and recommend exercises that help reduce your PAD symptoms.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating healthfully helps you manage PAD, as well as any co-occurring conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, that may have caused your PAD. Aim to eat a diet with lots of vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.

At the same time, significantly reduce your consumption of saturated fat, salt, sugar, and alcohol. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help you develop a customized healthy eating plan.

Care for your legs and feet

Having PAD means you need to give your legs and feet special care to avoid pain and complications. Wear supportive footwear that keeps your legs and feet comfortable during activities, and keep your extremities warm all year.

Additionally, wash and dry your feet daily in warm water, and check them regularly for cracks, sores, and thick, hard patches. You’re at increased risk of developing infections with PAD, so seek medical care if anything doesn’t look right on your feet.

If you smoke, stop

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health with PAD. Once you quit smoking, your body has an easier time carrying blood to your extremities.

Access regular medical care

Don’t miss your scheduled appointments with Dr. Agha, even if you feel healthy. Following your personalized treatment plan helps ensure your PAD remains well-managed and allows Dr. Agha to catch any potential problems early.

When you experience new symptoms, like worsening pain or cramping in your legs and feet, schedule an appointment with Dr. Agha. 

Medications, additional lifestyle changes, and procedures such as medical balloons can treat any developing problems before severe complications occur.

Getting a diagnosis of PAD can be scary, but with a healthy lifestyle and continued care, you can continue to live well. 

For help managing your PAD or to seek a diagnosis, make an appointment with us at IYA Medical in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our team offers telehealth as well as in-office consultations.

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