Many people can manage the symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and stop the progression of the disease through lifestyle changes.
Here are some ways to stabilize or improve PAD:
Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to constriction and damage of your arteries and is a significant risk factor for the development and worsening of PAD. If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of complications.
If you’re having trouble quitting on your own, ask your doctor about smoking cessation options, including medications to help you quit.
Exercise. This is a key component. Success in the treatment of PAD is often measured by how far you can walk without pain. Proper exercise helps condition your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently.
Your doctor can help you develop an appropriate exercise plan. He or she may refer you to a claudication exercise rehabilitation program.
Eat a healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat can help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which contribute to atherosclerosis.
Avoid certain cold medications. Over-the-counter cold remedies that contain pseudoephedrine (Advil Cold & Sinus, Aleve-D Sinus & Cold, others) constrict your blood vessels and may increase your PAD symptoms.