Being active is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. It can also help you keep peripheral arterial disease (PAD) from getting worse. Regular exercise can help you manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help control PAD and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have any
symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness during
exercise, report these symptoms to your doctor before continuing your exercise
Exercise helps relieve intermittent claudication
Regular exercise can decrease leg pain that occurs with
intermittent claudication) in some people who have peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
doctor may want you to try a supervised exercise program. This program may include both walking and weight training exercises. You will work with a
therapist at an exercise facility such as a rehab center. Each day you will
walk until the pain starts, then rest until it goes away before continuing.
Your therapist will ask you to try to walk just a little farther each day
before resting. Don't try to walk through the pain. The goal is to increase the
amount of time you can exercise before the pain starts.
You may start a similar walking
program at home (with your doctor's approval).
Exercise helps prevent PAD
If you do not have PAD, regular exercise can reduce your risk of getting it. Exercise can help you:
Lower blood pressure.
Regulate blood sugar (important for people who have
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Hirsch AT, et al. (2006). ACC/AHA 2005 practice
guidelines for the management of patients with peripheral arterial disease
(lower extremity, renal, mesenteric, and abdominal aortic): A collaborative
report from the American Association for Vascular Surgery/Society for Vascular
Surgery, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society for
Vascular Medicine and Biology, Society of Interventional Radiology, and the
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Endorsed by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
Rehabilitation; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Society for Vascular
Nursing; TransAtlantic Inter-Society Consensus; and Vascular Disease
Foundation. Circulation, 113(11): e463–e654.
Watson L, et al. (2008). Exercise for intermittent claudication. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
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