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Being active is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. It can also help you keep peripheral arterial disease(PAD) from getting worse. Regular exercise can help you manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help control PAD and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have any symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness during exercise, report these symptoms to your doctor before continuing your exercise program.
Specialized exercise programs may help relieve leg pain that occurs with exercise (called intermittent claudication) in some people who have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If you have difficulty walking because of your symptoms, these programs may also help you walk more easily.footnote 1
Your doctor may recommend a supervised exercise program. You will work with a therapist at an exercise facility such as a rehab center. In an exercise session, you will walk until the pain starts, then rest until it goes away before continuing. Your therapist may ask you to try to walk just a little farther each day before resting. Don't try to walk through the pain. The goal is to increase the amount of time you can exercise before the pain starts.
You may start a similar walking program at home (with your doctor's approval). This type of program is not supervised. You get instructions and guidance from a healthcare professional. This program may be called a structured home-based exercise program.
If you do not have PAD, regular exercise can reduce your risk of getting it. Exercise can help you:
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CitationsGerhard-Herman MD, et al. (2016). 2016 AHA/ACC guideline on the management of patients with lower extremity peripheral artery disease. Circulation, published online November 13, 2016. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000471 . Accessed November 25, 2016.Other Works ConsultedConte M , et al. (2015). Society for Vascular Surgery practice guidelines for atherosclerotic occlusive disease of the lower extremities: Management of asymptomatic disease and claudication. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 61(3S): 2S–41S. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvs.2014.12.009. Accessed November 25, 2016.Gerhard-Herman MD, et al. (2016). 2016 AHA/ACC guideline on the management of patients with lower extremity peripheral artery disease. Circulation, published online November 13, 2016. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000471 . Accessed November 25, 2016.Watson L, et al. (2008). Exercise for intermittent claudication. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofDecember 6, 2017
Current as of: December 6, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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