PAD is a silent killer. In fact in the early stages of PAD, most have no symptoms at all. About 25% of people feel cramping in their legs when they walk distances, known as claudication. This occurs due to the oxygen deficiency from the lack of blood flow. As the PAD progresses, the pain can continue at night and disturb your sleep. Wounds and ulcers can develop on your feet as well. These wounds are slow to heal and put you at risk for infection which can lead to amputation.
So what can you do to prevent and control PAD?
- Quit Smoking! Set a date to quit and get help if you need it.
- Lower your blood pressure. Ideally it should be lowered below 140/90. If you have diabetes, get it lower than 130/80.
- Lower your bad cholesterol. Your LDL should be less than 100 mg/dl. If you are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke, lower it below 70 mg/dl
- Manage your blood sugar. Diabetics should reach a Hemoglobin A1C level below 7. Be sure to take proper care of your feet!
- Talk to your doctor about antiplatelet medication. Taking medication such as aspirin will help to prevent clotting.
- Follow a healthy eating plan. This can help control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.
- Excercise regularly. You should exercise for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.
Remember, finding and treating PAD early can help keep your legs healthy, lower your risk of for heart attack or stroke, and save your life and limbs. At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, we use PADnet to evaluate your lower extremity for PAD so it can be identified early and treated quickly. It is a non-invasive, in-office test that takes about 30 minutes to perform.