It is important to learn about factors that increase your chance for developing peripheral artery disease (PAD) as you age. Addressing these risk factors can lower your chance of developing PAD, and of having a stroke or heart attack.
Adopting healthy habits can help. In some cases, medications may be needed as well. Here are steps you can take to help prevent PAD.
Stay active: Regular physical activity or exercise can lead to weight loss and improve your fitness level. In general, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week to promote good health. To reach that goal, you could try walking briskly for 30 minutes five times in one week. If you can do it daily and make it a habit, that is even better.
Don’t use tobacco products: If you smoke, ask your care team about ways to quit. There are many programs and products that can help you.
Monitor your weight: If you are overweight or obese, talk with your care team about a healthy weight loss program, which includes a healthy diet and exercise.
Eat healthy: A healthy diet is an important part of any program to help prevent heart disease. The 2019 ACC/AHA Primary Prevention Guideline recommends following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish or lean meats. Stay away from foods with solid fats, added sugars and refined grains. Don’t eat foods that are fried in oil or prepared with shortening or butter. Try to eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, and walnuts.
Control blood pressure: Check your blood pressure regularly, avoid salt and take medication if your care team advises it.
Lower cholesterol: Addressing high cholesterol with diet and/or medication can help cut plaque buildup. You have to check your cholesterol level by having a blood test.
Treat elevated blood sugar (diabetes): Having your care team check and monitor your blood sugar may also help you maintain healthy circulation.
While some factors are outside of your control, including family history, age, race and your sex, it’s important to focus on the factors that you can control.
Finally, take good care of your feet and legs. Inspect them regularly and keep your skin soft with lotions. Be careful clipping your toenails and wear comfortable shoes that fit you. See a podiatrist if you have any concerns.