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Heart Disease Health Center

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Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs - Living With PAD

There are many things you can do to keep peripheral arterial disease (PAD) from getting worse. These steps may also help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help control PAD.

And doing any one of these things can help you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, which is important to do when you have PAD.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

How to Exercise to Help Prevent Heart Disease

Getting regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps you cut your odds of getting heart disease. It's good for your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, energy level, and mood, too, to name just a few of the benefits. If you're not exercising, check in with your doctor first. She will let you know what you can do safely. If you take any prescription medicines, ask your doctor if you need to adjust them when you take your medicines.

Read the How to Exercise to Help Prevent Heart Disease article > >

Focus on a healthy lifestyle

A cardiac rehab program can help you make lifestyle changes. In cardiac rehab, a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you make new, healthy habits.

Care for your feet and legs

Take good care of your feet and legs. When you have reduced blood flow to your legs, even minor injuries can lead to serious infections.

  • Treat wounds, cuts, and scrapes on your legs right away. Poor blood flow to the legs caused by PAD can keep wounds, cuts, and scrapes from healing properly. Prompt treatment can help you avoid this problem and is especially important for people who also have diabetes.
  • Avoid shoes that are too tight or that rub your feet. Shoes should be comfortable and fit well. Avoid socks or stockings that are tight enough to leave elastic-band marks on your legs. They can make circulation problems and symptoms from PAD worse.
  • Keep your feet clean and moisturized to prevent your skin from drying and cracking. Place cotton or lamb's wool between your toes to prevent rubbing and to absorb moisture.
  • If open sores form, keep them dry and cover them with nonstick bandages. See your doctor as soon as you discover an open sore.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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