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Peripheral Vascular Disease Prevention
In this article you will learn
- What causes peripheral vascular disease
- What are the risk factors
- How to manage risk and prevent peripheral vascular disease
Peripheral vascular disease can be caused by a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes the blood vessels, in particular the arteries, to harden and narrow. The peripheral blood vessels are the arteries and veins that that supply blood to the legs and arms and then return it to the heart. The most common location of peripheral vascular disease is in the legs. As peripheral vascular disease develops, leg pain can become more prominent.
The narrowing and hardening of the artery happens when deposits of calcium and cholesterol build up on the artery wall over time. These deposits are also known as plaque. Plaques deposits may build up so much that the artery may actually become completely blocked.
In order to know how to prevent peripheral vascular disease, it would be useful first to know the factors that might increase your risk of contracting the condition. The following are risk factors:
• hypertension (high blood pressure)
• a family history of peripheral vascular disease
• being overweight
• high cholesterol or blood fat
Manage the Risk Factors
The first step in preventing vascular disease is to manage the risk factors.
For those with high cholesterol, hypertension and for those who already have vascular disease, a nutritional program can be helpful. Opt for food choices that are rich in complex carbohydrates (such as wholegrain rice and pasta), fresh vegetables and fruit. Try to avoid foods that are highly processed, salty, sugary or contain animal fats.
If you use tobacco, the firm advice is to stop smoking. Nicotine has the effect of narrowing the arteries (known as vasoconstriction). Each cigarette or cigar you smoke has the potential to decrease the flow of blood as the nicotine circulates around your vascular system.
Your doctor or health care provider may want to prescribe medication and he or she may need to adjust other medications you are taking. Some medications can restrict blood flow, so your doctor may need to examine your intake in order to better manage circulation.
Exercise is an excellent way to improve and maintain circulation in your vascular system. Your doctor or health care provider may recommend a program of exercise for you. In any case, you should check with your doctor first before undertaking any program of strenuous exercise.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery if you have any significant blockages.
The best way to avoid peripheral vascular disease is to stay fit and healthy. Aim to reach a healthy weight, try to bring your blood pressure within healthy parameters and watch your cholesterol levels.
Try to eat meals that are low in fat and sugar, and that are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. And try to exercise 3 to 4 times every week. You don’t need to go to a gym as a brisk walk should be sufficient. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise would be best for you.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Circulation Problems17 Jul 2009|