PAD Peripheral Artery
Disease Progression Slowed by Walking
A new study indicates that people with peripheral artery disease (PAD)
can slow the disease progression and improve their walking ability by
walking for exercise at least three times per week. Sufferers of PAD
can suffer leg pain that is caused by decreased blood blow in the
PAD is caused by blockages to the arteries that supply blood to the
legs. Certain risk factors are associated with this disease including
smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. The
condition gets more profound as we age.
This study conducted at the Northwestern University in Chicago included
417 women and men. The researchers found that those who walked three or
more times per week had a significantly smaller average decline in
walking speed and distance when compared to those that walked only once
or twice a week.
The study that appears in the January 3rd issue of the Annals of
Internal Medicine found that only a small percentage of black
participants walked for exercise more than three times per week. It was
noted that blacks suffer at a higher rate from PAD.
The subjects were followed for an average of 36 months. Of the
participants 143 walked for exercise at least 3 times per week. The
other 274 participants walked less.
According to the author of the study, Dr. Mary Mary McGrae McDermott,
“Our data suggest that patients with PAD who are unable or unwilling to
participate in supervised walking exercise programs may benefit from
self-directed walking at home."
The understandingPAD website says there are eight to twelve million
people in the US that are living with the condition. These people have
a five times greater risk of having a heart attack. Most of those
affected have no idea what PAD is or that they even have the condition.
The website states “This blockage, by itself, is usually considered to
be irreversible, but the rate at which it develops can be markedly
slowed by a healthy lifestyle. A well-informed and motivated patient can
certainly stop smoking, lower their blood cholesterol, control their
blood pressure, and ensure that their diabetes is well managed.“
At least half of the sufferers may not have symptoms (the number could
be as high as 90% though). Some people may suffer from claudication,
This is a fatigue, discomfort or pain in the leg muscles. There are
studies that found that 5% of men and 2.5% of women over 60 years of age
have symptoms of claudication.
Pain in the buttocks, thighs or calves can lead to a diagnosis. Some
individuals with PAD may suffer a wound in the leg that will not heal.
It could be gangrene and may lead to amputation.
It is important to remember that most people have no symptoms of the
disease. Doctors can measure the blood pressure at the ankle and
compare that pressure taken at the arm to aid in the diagnosis. This is
called ankle-brachial index or ABI. If the blood pressure in the leg is
lower it may indicate the patient has the disease.
The ABI test can also be used to plot the progression of the disease.
Along with a healthy lifestyle walking will help slow the progression of
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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