Peripheral arterial disease develops when plaque, which consists of substances such as cholesterol, fat, and calcium, builds up inside artery walls and causes narrowing. This leads to problems with blood circulation because of reduced blood flow to the brain, limbs, stomach, and kidneys. Peripheral arterial disease can also be caused by blood clots in the arteries, limb injuries, or abnormal structure of muscles or ligaments.
Symptoms include weakness, numbness, and pain in the legs. Peripheral arterial disease patients also suffer from leg pain when walking (claudication) and open sores that do not heal properly. Risk factors for developing this condition include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, older age, and obesity. Treatment is geared towards symptom management and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Eat A Heart-Healthy Diet
Peripheral arterial disease patients tend to have elevated cholesterol levels, and following a heart-healthy diet can help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Diet changes and adjustments should include a healthy eating plan with lots of fruits and vegetables. A heart-healthy diet should also include nutritious and low-fat foods and dairy products. Avoid foods containing trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils). Try to cut back on foods with lots of saturated fat or cholesterol and stick to lean cuts of meat and remove poultry skin. Use olive oil instead of coconut or palm oil. Patients should also limit their consumption of sugar, salt, and alcohol. Overweight or obese patients should work with a doctor to create a reasonable weight-loss plan to maintain a healthy weight.