Peripheral artery disease is a narrowing of the blood vessels that bring blood to the legs and feet. It can occur when cholesterol and other fatty material (plaque) build-up on the walls of your arteries.
A regular walking program will improve blood flow as new, small blood vessels form.
Your goal over time is to be able to walk 30 - 60 minutes.
Always talk with your health care provider before you start an exercise program. Call your provider right away if you have any of these symptoms during or after exercise:
Make simple changes to add walking to your day.
Stop smoking. Smoking narrows your arteries and increases the risk of blood clots forming. Other things you can do to stay as healthy as possible are to:
Check your feet every day. Inspect the tops, sides, soles, heels, and between your toes. If you cannot see well, ask someone to check your feet for you. Look for:
Call your health care provider right way about any foot problems. Do not try to treat them yourself first.
If you are taking medicines for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, take them as your doctor has prescribed.
Your health care provider may prescribe other medicines to control your peripheral artery disease. Do NOT stop taking these medicines without first talking with your provider.
Call your health care provider if you have:
Peripheral vascular disease - self-care; Intermittent claudication - self-care
Mills JL. Lower extremity arterial disease In: Cronenwett JL, Johnston W, eds. Rutherford’s Vascular Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:section 15.
Creager MA, Libby P. Peripheral arterial disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: ATextbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 61.
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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