Heart Health Month: The Connection Between PAD and Heart Disease
February is American Heart Month. It is a time for all people to focus on their heart health and be aware of the dangers of heart disease. But, did you know, that peripheral artery disease (PAD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) are both caused by a narrowing and blocking of arteries in critical regions of the body? This is also called atherosclerosis.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. Every year more than 600,000 people die every year from heart disease. Heart disease affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities.1
If you suffer or wonder if you have PAD, you should be aware of the connection between PAD and heart disease and know the risks. Heart disease can affect everyone, but taking stock of your prior health risks, activities and diet can help you manage both diseases.
To celebrate February Heart Health Month, take some time to learn more about Heart health awareness, risks and activities that can reduce your risk.
Heart Disease Risks
Heart disease is a common term that describes a group of serious health conditions that significantly affect the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, over 18 million people older than the age of 2 are living with coronary heart disease.
Heart disease occurs when the arteries leading to the heart become clogged. Although heart disease has been around for thousands of years, many aspects of modern life exacerbate risk factors and make people more prone to heart disease and heart failure. Today, one in four deaths in the U.S. is attributable to heart disease.
Risks for heart disease include:
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese with a BMI of 35 or higher
- Not enough physical activity
- A diet that is high in sugars, saturated and trans-fats
Heart disease and vascular disease can come in many forms, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Signs and Symptoms of PAD
More than 8 million people over the age of 40 in the United States are affected by vascular disease. Make sure you know the common PAD signs and symptoms, which when left untreated can develop into more severe conditions.
- Leg pain
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Leg discoloration
- Loss of hair on legs
- Leg fatigue or heaviness
- Leg cramping
- Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
- Pain that stops when at rest
- Foot and leg pain that disturbs sleep
- Shiny skin on the legs
- Non-healing wounds on feet or legs
- One leg that is cooler than the other
- Cold or numb toes
- Poor toenail growth
National American Health Month is a way to get people talking about heart disease risks. As the leading, preventable cause of death, it’s as good as a reason as any to start making healthier choices.
Thankfully there are things you can be doing right not to prevent heart disease and decrease your risk. The most important thing to remember about heart disease awareness is that it is preventable, meaning that with the right amount of effort, it can be avoided.
How to Observe American Heart Month
Take up a heart-healthy habit
Staying active, eating healthy, and watching our weight are all important parts of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Pick a new heart-healthy habit like jogging or substituting sodas with water and try to stick to it for a whole month.
Learn about the risk factors for heart disease, the ways you can prevent them, and the lifestyle choices that can help you stay healthy.
Get your cholesterol tested
If you’re worried you might be at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to perform a simple cholesterol test to let you know if you’re at risk and should make adjustments to your diet.
Make a Consultation with a USA Vascular Centers Specialist
PAD is a progressive condition that can lead to heart attack, stroke or limb amputation. Maintain your mobility and talk to one of our specialists.
Make Healthy Choices
The following are some useful tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk for heart disease:
- Eat healthy
- Get active
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
- Manage stress
One of the leading causes of heart disease is inactivity and being overweight, which go hand-in-hand. Even if you work a sedentary job, it is detrimental to your long-term health that you get up and move at least once an hour. Incorporating more activity into your day will not only benefit your circulation, but it will also promote weight loss.
If exercising for long periods is inconvenient, or you’re not physically able, you should still try to include some light walking or movement into your daily activities. Being more active helps protect the function of your heart and improves the flow of blood. This is important because poor circulation is the precursor for a variety of very serious medical conditions.
Avoid eating food that are high in saturated fat, and limit consumption of fast or processed foods to a minimum. Opt-out your French fired or potato chips for some fresh fruit or a sugar-free granola bar. Although fast food is very convenient, it wreaks havoc on your arteries and fills them with plaque—a substance that blocks the arteries and leads to blood clots. Maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way to improving your heart and vascular health.
Getting about 150 minutes, or 20 minutes of exercise daily can improve your heart and vascular health. If you work a sedentary job, it is important to your long-term health that you get up and move at least once an hour. Incorporating more activity into your day will not only benefit your circulation, but it also promotes weight loss.
If exercising for long periods is inconvenient, or you’re not physically able, you should still try to include some light walking or movement into your daily activities.
Being more active helps protect the function of your heart and improves the flow of blood. This is important because poor circulation is the precursor for a variety of very serious medical conditions.
Prolonged stress is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure, which has a direct connection to heart disease. Taking measures to avoid stressful situations and adopt healthy methods to cope with stress. Some easy ways to avoid stress is meditation, reading a book, walking through the woods, or sitting by the beach. Take deep breaths when you start to feel overwhelmed, and when in doubt, remind yourself that you’re trying to help your heart.
Improving Your Heart and Vascular Health
Being healthier is not an easy feat, especially if you have lived most of your life doing relatively unhealthy things. At USA Vascular Centers, we want you to know were here to help. Your heart is a very important resource for the body and having any form of heart disease increases your risk for other conditions like Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
As you strive to become healthier and fight off PAD and heart disease, remember:
- Don’t get overwhelmed. Every step you take brings you closer to a healthier heart.
- Don’t do it alone. The journey is always easier to accomplish with good support; ask friends and family to join you.
- Don’t get discouraged. It may seem hard to be healthy, but by taking small steps each day will make it easier to achieve your goal.
- Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress: Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with family or friends.
At USA Vascular Centers, we specialize in stent angioplasty treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). If you or someone you know has high blood pressure or PAD, reach out to us today for a consolation.
The objective of our PAD treatment is to make your blood flow efficient and healthy and to improve your overall quality of life. Post-procedure medicines will help preserve your ability to be active and stabilize blockages already present in other body arteries. You should also do some lifestyle changes, such as eating low-cholesterol, low-fat and heart-healthy diet, and quitting smoking to get the best outcomes from your non-surgical PAD treatment.
We have PAD treatment centers located across the country, in 16 states. Visit a PAD center near you to take the first steps towards healthier legs and a healthier life.
Call us at 888.773.2193 or request an appointment online.