Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can occur when fatty plaque deposits build up in the arteries or when artery walls become inflamed. This causes the narrowing or blockage of arteries that reduces blood flow to the limbs, usually affecting the legs. Preventing PAD is important because it’s a serious health condition that can cause pain and discomfort and can progress to complications like amputation, heart attack, and stroke.
PAD Prevention, Nutrition, and Chronic Disease
PAD is associated with longstanding poor nutrition habits, so improving diet and taking some supplements may help with PAD prevention and progression. Additionally, some chronic health conditions are associated with increased risk for PAD and can be better managed with good nutritional choices. No matter how good your diet is, if you’re prescribed medications for a health condition, it’s important to take them as instructed by your doctor.
A partial list of health conditions that increase your risk of developing PAD includes:
● High blood pressure (hypertension)
● High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
● Renal failure
A Healthy Diet for PAD Prevention
With any dietary changes, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor so that you can be confident the measures you’re taking are safe and the best course of action. A good start is making sure your diet is balanced by considering the following guidelines.
Your diet should be…
Low in Cholesterol
Cut out red meat and switch to lean forms of protein, like poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, and low-fat dairy.
Low in Saturated and Trans Fats
A diet low in saturated and trans fats can help lower your cholesterol, an important risk factor for PAD. Trans fats can be found in products that are made with partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated vegetable oils, like fried foods, baked goods, margarine, and more. Saturated fats are found in many animal products like meat and dairy, like butter, pork, beef, and lamb, among others.
Full of Whole Foods and Fiber
Your diet should include plenty of whole foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains, which are often excellent sources of dietary fiber.
Low in Sodium
Pay attention to sodium content on food labels to make good choices about your daily sodium intake. Don’t add table salt to your food. Buy fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables, instead of packaged meals that contain added sauces and seasonings.
If you’re obese or overweight, it can add to your risk for PAD. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, help you better manage diabetes, and keep high blood pressure under control. Pay attention to nutrition labels and portion size, add in fruits and vegetables to your diet, cut out sugar-sweetened beverages, reduce consumption of processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Add physical activity to your daily routine to help you reach a calorie deficit (when you are burning more calories than you consume). There are many reputable apps and weight loss programs that can provide support and guidance for weight loss, or you can talk to your doctor about medically-supervised weight loss programs.
Full of Water!
Not only is staying properly hydrated important for weight loss efforts, it is also important for the health of your kidneys which are a critical organ which can be tied to PAD when they are in poor health.
Dietary Supplements to Prevent PAD
Some studies show that certain vitamins and dietary supplements may have benefits for preventing PAD and helping to manage it. For many people over-the-counter dietary supplements and vitamins are safe for general consumption, but excessive dosage can be unhealthy and interactions with existing medications or medical conditions are sometimes a risk. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about supplements you plan to take.
|Omega-3 Fatty Acid||Studies indicate they can improve systemic inflammation, vascular function, lower blood pressure, and reduce some PAD symptoms.||Too much could possibly increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Fish oil may interact with blood pressure-lowering medications. Some people experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or acid reflux.|
|Folate & B Vitamins||May improve blood pressure and blood flow.||Excessive folic acid has been linked to accelerated mental decline in older people and it may be associated with cancer resurgence. May be harmful for people with kidney disease.|
Make an appointment with a Trusted Vascular Specialist!
Whether you’re working on a PAD prevention plan, have early symptoms of PAD, or have been diagnosed, you can make an appointment with a vascular specialist for PAD screening.
PAD can sometimes be prevented and can also be treated once it has developed. If it’s not managed, however, you can develop serious—even deadly—health complications.
If you have PAD, amputation is a real risk, but it can be avoided by making sure that you prevent the disease from progressing. At Beach Wellness MD, we’re here to work with you on a comprehensive and personalized PAD treatment plan.
Dr. Ali Golshan, MD, is a leading vascular expert who specializes in PAD and other vascular conditions. Dr. Golshan emphasizes one-on-one treatment and designs personalized care plans for each patient.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.