What you can do to help your PAD
The same risk factors that put you at risk for heart disease or stroke put you at risk for PAD: smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, personal or family history of heart disease or stroke.
You may be able to control or slow mild PAD by changing basic lifestyle habits, exercising and limiting your risk factors. You can do the following:
- If you smoke, stop now. Smoking is the most important risk factor for PAD.
- Eat a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat. If the blood fats remain high, talk with your doctor about medicines that may lower them.
- Participate in a walking program.
- Watch your blood pressure.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- If you have diabetes, work to keep your blood glucose in good control. People with diabetes are at greater risk for PAD because of the damage that diabetes can do to
blood vessels. Check with your doctor if you are having problems with your diabetes.
Good foot care is important for people with PAD. Here are some tips:
- Check your feet every day for sores and cracks.
- Wash your feet with slightly warm water every day.
- Do not soak them because they will dry out.
- Always check inside your shoes for worn areas or things that might cause sores on your feet. Ask your doctor about special shoes.
- Use lotion and cream for dry skin, but not between your toes.
- Cut your toenails straight across and smooth out sharp edges. You may need a podiatrist to help you with this, especially if you have severe PAD.
- Wear shoes and socks even when inside to protect your feet.
- If you develop a sore that doesn't heal, call your doctor.