Specific lifestyle changes will be determined by which risk factors you have for PAD.

General Guidelines

  • Manage your high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Talk with your doctor about what treatments may work best for you.
  • Talk with your doctor about how you can quit smoking.
  • Talk with a dietitian about eating a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly. Under your doctor’s supervision, gradually increase your walking. This helps improve blood flow and reduces the risk of infection.
  • Foot Care

    Regular inspection of your feet will help prevent serious complications that can lead to amputation. To keep your feet healthy, take these steps:

  • Regularly examine your feet for injuries, ingrown toenails, or cuts
  • Care for any injuries of the feet meticulously with regular cleansing and dressings
  • Avoid dry skin by using moisturizing creams
  • Wear shoes that breathe but do not expose the toes, such as sandals
  • Avoid shoe chafing
  • See a podiatrist for toe or toenail problems, and tell him or her that you have PAD
  • Managing Claudication

    Even if the major arteries are hardened and narrowed, your body can build collateral circulation, or a network of new small blood vessels that keep tissues alive. These blood vessels grow in response to demand. Talk with your doctor about starting a walking program. You should only exercise under your doctor's supervision.

    When to Contact Your Doctor

    You need regular check-ups to assess the progress of your vascular disease.

    Be alert for:

  • Wounds that get infected
  • Wounds that don't heal
  • Worsening claudication
  • Sudden worsening of symptoms, particularly pain at rest