What lifestyle changes can I make to address my peripheral artery disease?

If you have peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.), you're also more likely to have coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack (TIA, or "mini-stroke"). However, you can take steps to treat and control P.A.D. and lower your risk for these other conditions.
Living With Peripheral Arterial Disease Symptoms
If you have P.A.D., you may feel pain in your calf or thigh muscles after walking. Try to take a break and allow the pain to ease before walking again. Over time, this may increase the distance that you can walk without pain.
Talk with your doctor about taking part in a supervised exercise program. This type of program has been shown to reduce P.A.D. symptoms.
Ongoing Health Care Needs and Lifestyle Changes
See your doctor for checkups as he or she advises. If you have P.A.D., but don't have symptoms, you should still see your doctor regularly. Take all medicines as your doctor prescribes.
Lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay P.A.D. and other related problems, such as CAD, heart attack, stroke, and TIA. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, controlling risk factors, getting regular physical activity, and following a healthy eating plan.
This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which blockages are present in the arteries that supply the legs or feet (and sometimes the arms) with blood. There are many lifestyle changes that physicians recommend for PAD, the most important of which is getting moving.

Exercise is the best treatment for PAD because it allows your body to begin to develop collateral blood vessels, which are your body’s own bypasses around blockages in the arteries. Blood travels through these other vessels to supply your limbs with the vital oxygen-rich blood that is no longer able to sufficiently flow through the blocked vessel. In addition to exercise, dietary modifications to lower cholesterol and control your blood pressure are also extremely important.

Continue Learning about Vascular Disease

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.