Vascular disease can be a serious health problem. When vascular disease is unchecked, patients may be subject not only to pain and discomfort, but to amputation and death. It is crucial to keep your vascular health in check. Fortunately, there are many concrete steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of a serious vascular event. Dr. Irfan Siddiqui shares the ways in which all patients can preserve their vascular health for the future.
Causes of Vascular Disease
Vascular disease is caused when the veins and arteries become blocked. They can be blocked by deposits of fat and cholesterol called plaques, or they can be blocked by a weakening of the vein and artery walls. Bulges in the walls called aneurysms can also occur.
Vascular disease leads to the restriction of blood supply to certain parts of the body. In the case of peripheral artery disease, the most common vascular health disorder, the arteries in the legs are blocked. This can lead to pain, discomfort, changes in the color of the skin, and ulcers or sores that will not heal. This also leads to a feeling of tiredness or weakness in the limbs.
When people suffer from vascular disease, they run the risk of tissues being deprived of oxygen. This can mean that a limb suffering from peripheral artery disease will need to be amputated. It can also lead to kidney and heart failure as well as strokes and heart attacks.
Vascular disease can be a frightening prospect. Many people want to learn how to prevent these problems from occurring as well as keeping any existing problems in check. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle steps which can be taken to reduce the risk of vascular disease.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
One of the simplest ways to reduce your risk of vascular disease is to keep your blood pressure in check. Doctors recommend that your blood pressure be no higher than 130 over 80. This is a lower number than in years past, when doctors considered 140 over 90 the cutoff for high blood pressure.
At-risk patients who are trying to avoid vascular disease should do everything they can to reduce their blood pressure. Medications can be taken which control blood pressure. Exercise can help to strengthen the body and the heart, effectively lowering blood pressure. Some patients may also need to be on a low-sodium diet to properly lower their blood pressure.
Smokers are twice as likely to have signs of peripheral artery disease. They are also 8 or 9 times more likely to have calcified arteries than people who have never smoked. It makes sense for everyone who is concerned about vascular disease to quit smoking. Without smoking, patients’ arteries will be less restricted, leading to better vascular health.
Exercise and Keep a Healthy Weight
It is important to keep weight under control to avoid vascular disease. Exercise helps to strengthen the heart and the vascular system, reducing the risk of problems down the road. When people are at a healthier weight, their vascular systems work better.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Since the plaques that block the arteries are comprised of cholesterol and fat, it makes sense that people who are prone to vascular disease will want to eat a healthier diet. Concentrating on low-fat meats or plant proteins, leafy green vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates is a good way to ensure your future health. The Mediterranean diet is also a great option for people who are at risk for vascular disease.
Be sure to restrict fat and cholesterol in your diet. You may also want to start eating oat products as a way to reduce your cholesterol naturally. The soluble fiber in oats is proven to reduce your blood cholesterol levels.
Check your Family History
If you have a relative with arterial disease, it is far more likely that you will experience vascular problems. Be sure to check into your family history to discover whether you are at a greater risk for this potentially serious disease.
Vascular Disease is Treatable
Even if you already have vascular disease, it is possible to see some reduction in symptoms when you follow these simple lifestyle changes. Medication and surgery are other ways to control vascular disease. Dr. Irfan Siddiqui recommends that all patients at risk for vascular disease talk to their doctors about reducing their lifestyle risks.