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PAD: What Is It?

By Stephen R. Farris

For most everyone, walking is a normal everyday activity. Without walking, we can't get to point A from point B. Most exercises we do require us to walk or stand. But sometimes it can be painful to walk. We might have leg cramps, foot pain or other ailments that inhibit our ability to walk sometimes. Most of the time the pain subsides or disappears completely, but it's something we shouldn't take for granted -- leg pain.

If leg pain persists, it could be a sign of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD). According to studies, most people with PAD have fatty deposits in their arteries outside of the heart. It's usually associated with people who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smokers. It doesn't affect joints but it does muscles.

Be Aware

The pain can strike at any time, even while sitting as the condition worsens. People with PAD usually experience pain and/or cramping in the calves, thighs, hips and glutes and is usually referred to as intermittent claudication (pain caused by too little blood flow), which is different for exercise related soreness. Studies show that you should closely monitor your leg pain, especially if you are a man, however, it occurs in 1 out of 10 women over 50 and 1 in 5 over the age of 60. 

Some of the signs you should be on the lookout for range from discoloration or foot color changes, foot coldness, sores that are slow to heal on the feet and lack of hair growth on big toes and legs to name a few. 

People with PAD are more apt to have a heart attack or stroke. If you suspect your condition may be the result of PAD, consult your physician as soon as possible. They will probably conduct a series of tests and X-rays to see if you may have blocked arteries.

Sitting still is the worst thing you can do if you have been diagnosed with PAD. One of the best things you can do is change your lifestyle. In other words, exercise more (walking, aerobics, etc.), eat healthier by adding more fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy fats to your diet, quit using tobacco products if you smoke or dip. But if you wait too long to get it looked at and diagnosed, the harder it will be to treat the condition. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orange Park, Fla.

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