Stop us if you’ve heard this one: eating a healthy, nutritious diet, avoiding tobacco or too much alcohol, and getting plenty of exercise is good for you.

Right—not particularly earth-shattering advice. But the abounding benefits of eating right and staying active continue to prove themselves, and we’ll add another reason to the list: peripheral artery disease, or PAD. This condition, signified by slowed circulation to the legs and feet, may manifest itself as intermittent numbness, cramping, or pain in the legs, especially when walking or during other times of activity—and it also could be an early indicator that a stroke or heart attack is on the way.

However, committing today to making healthy choices can stop PAD progression in its tracks and make a dramatic improvement in your pain management and quality of life. Most cases of PAD can be managed successfully through lifestyle changes and a few key medications; for some people even lifestyle changes alone are enough, cutting daily medications out of their routine for good.

Here’s your roadmap:

  • If you’re a smoker, quit. It’s the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of PAD complications such as heart attack or stroke. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help if you’re having trouble quitting on your own.
  • Exercise. PAD sufferers often have difficulty walking long distances without cramping, but exercise helps muscles learn to use oxygen more efficiently, increasing endurance and ability to walk without pain. An appropriate exercise plan, developed between you and your doctor, helps you build this ability.
  • Eat right. Avoid saturated fats and calories especially.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions to manage conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes.

A healthy approach to addressing PAD won’t just help you halt the pain and cramping in your legs—it may also save your life. If you suspect PAD, please don’t wait—visit Carolina Podiatry Group for an evaluation and treatment plan, including lifestyle guidelines and any medications you may need. To request an appointment in Lancaster, Rock Hill, or Indian Land, SC, submit an online request or call 888-569-9559 today.

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