When it comes to heart health, there is just no getting around it — you must be willing to lead a healthier lifestyle, or you may pay the price as you get older. According to the American Heart Association, there is an estimated 8.5 million people, most over age 60, who are affected by Peripheral Arterial Vascular Disease, most commonly referred to as PAD. This circulatory disease often occurs when extremities like your legs don’t receive enough healthy blood flow. As this is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, you should consider seeking the advice of an expert. At Palm Vascular Center, you can feel rest assured that you are in the hands of experienced physicians and a caring team of experts at the top of our fields. We offer the latest treatments for PAD using minimally invasive techniques in our state-of-the-art facilities in Miami Beach and across South Florida.
Common Causes of Peripheral Arterial Vascular Disease
So, what is the most common cause of PAD? Most doctors would agree that it is a buildup of cholesterol or fatty deposits in the arteries. While less common causes are blood clots in the arteries and injury to the limbs, the good news is that your doctor may be able to prescribe a simple remedy. A daily baby aspirin regimen or other lifestyle changes can be implemented immediately to turn this serious condition around.
Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Vascular Disease
Some people may have no symptoms, but here are some things you can look out for:
- Hair loss on the feet and legs
- Pain in the thigh, calf or hip muscles when walking up steps
- Weakness or numbness in the legs
- Sores or ulcers on the legs that take a longer time to heal
- Difficulty in finding a pulse in the leg or foot
You should also be aware of the risk factors that contribute to PAD. They include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease.
How to Diagnose Peripheral Arterial Vascular Disease
Luckily, there are a few ways to check for PAD. The most common test is the ankle-brachial index—a test that compares the blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm. Another way is the use of ultrasound to check your cholesterol and homocysteine levels.
What is the Best Treatment for PAD?
Thankfully, a few simple lifestyle changes can make a difference. Some are simple to implement, and others take more effort. Lifestyle changes will show you a marked improvement in just a few weeks. Try these tips:
- Put on your sneakers and start moving or dancing! Yes, exercise more frequently. Please consult your doctor first and start out slowly. Did you know that simply taking a walk around the block has been shown to decrease symptoms in just 4-8 weeks? Leg exercises three times a week can also help.
- Eat your fruits and veggies! Consider a low-fat diet that includes lots of healthy choices to help lower your cholesterol.
- You may need medication. Your doctor may prescribe common cholesterol medications such as statins to help lower your cholesterol levels.
- You’ve heard it before. But now your health is really on the line. Stop smoking! It goes without saying that this will help improve your quality of life in every way. Research shows that giving up the habit will slow the progression of Peripheral Vascular Disease and other heart-related afflictions exponentially.
If you suspect that you have Peripheral Vascular Disease and live in Miami Beach, call us to discuss all your treatment needs. You’ll be glad you took a step towards improving your health today. Visit www.palmvascular.com for more information or call Palm Beach Vascular Center Miami at (305) 763-8734.