If you’ve ever tried sipping a soft drink through a coffee straw meant for stirring, you know the narrow passageway does not allow for much liquid to get through. Similarly, an artery that has narrowed inhibits blood from passing through it, which can result in far more serious situations than simply taking forever to quench your thirst! Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD for short, is a circulatory problem that narrows arteries and negatively affects your body, especially your legs and feet –destinations for which blood has the longest distance to travel. Injuries needing blood’s healing nutrients worsen as they wait for their arrival. Nerves become damaged, and painful symptoms ensue. Often associated with the trials and tribulations of diabetes, the poor blood flow of PAD can have debilitating and lasting effects. Knowing signs of poor circulation can help – and so can we!
Signs of Slowing Circulation
- Leg cramps after activity such as walking or climbing stairs
- Coldness in comparison to your other leg or foot (or, if both are affected, in comparison to normal)
- Numbness, weakness, and fatigue in feet and legs
- Wounds on your feet that don’t seem to be healing
- Slow-growing or loss of hair on feet or legs
- Shiny or discolored skin
- A weak or no pulse
- Slower growth of toenails
As PAD progresses, pain can accompany these symptoms, even at times of rest. Symptoms will continue to get worse and can become so severe that they wake you in the night. Left untreated, peripheral arterial disease can lead to dangerous complications including gangrene, and even amputation. Take heed of the warning signs, and take heart that there are things you can do to treat and even reverse PAD’s effects.
Boosting Your Blood Flow
Just as you can replace a coffee stirrer with a straw to better drink your soda, there are things you can do to rectify the problems of PAD, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Lifestyle choices that eliminate risk factors are at the top of the list. Don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats, exercise regularly, and keep your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check.
Managing underlying conditions that are contributing to your poor circulation, like diabetes, is also crucial to controlling the damaging effects of PAD. Maintain appropriate glucose levels, perform daily foot exams, eat right and always protect your feet with socks and shoes.
There are medications that can help with peripheral arterial disease as well, and if all else fails, there are surgical procedures to improve poor blood flow, however, lifestyle changes still need to take place to maintain good health and skirt complications.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, come in to see us so we can assess your condition and determine the steps needed to slow progression and feel better. We can explain treatment options further, as well as help develop an exercise plan that works for you. Dial (908) 687-5757 to make an appointment at our Roselle Park, NJ office, or call (609) 924-8333 to reach our Princeton location. Let’s get your blood flowing so you can feel great again!