Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the limbs. This can lead to pain, numbness, and discoloration in the extremities. PAD is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits build up on the inner walls of the arteries. PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Medication may include blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and pain medications. A specialist in peripheral arterial disease in Coconut Creek can recommend the ideal treatment if you have any symptoms. Here are some tips on how you can prevent the condition.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of PAD. Smoking damages the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the arteries. This can lead to plaque formation and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Smoking also increases the risk for other conditions that can lead to PAD, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If you smoke, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk for PAD.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for overall health, and it’s also the key to preventing PAD. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help keep your arteries healthy and reduce the risk for plaque formation. Choose lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains instead of processed foods.
Regular exercise is another important way to reduce your risk for PAD. Exercise helps keep your arteries healthy by strengthening the endothelium and preventing plaque accumulation. It also helps control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, contributing to PAD. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for PAD. Carrying excess weight puts stress on the arteries and works harder to circulate blood. This can lead to the formation of plaque and an increased risk for PAD. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can help reduce your risk for the condition.
Watch Your Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels can also increase your risk for PAD. Cholesterol is a type of fat that builds up in the arteries and can lead to plaque formation. High cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart disease, a significant risk factor for PAD. Managing your cholesterol levels is a critical way to reduce your risk for PAD.
Avoid Specific Medications
Some medications can increase your risk for PAD. These include drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and pain medications. They work by relaxing the arteries and making them wider. If you take any of these medications, it’s essential to be aware of the risk for PAD and to report any symptoms to your doctor.
To summarize, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk for peripheral arterial disease. These include quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. You can also watch your cholesterol levels and avoid specific medications that can increase your risk for PAD. If you have any symptoms, be sure to see a specialist as soon as possible.