It’s important to understand the aspects of your lifestyle and genetic background that can put you at risk for PAD. Recognizing the risk factors of PAD is the first step towards getting diagnosed and treated. This is important, as untreated PAD can lead to serious complications, including amputation.
Many are at risk for PAD without realizing it. If you or a loved one has any risk factors for PAD, start the conversation by talking to a healthcare professional.
Some risk factors for PAD are uncontrollable, such as age, race, and family history. Other risk factors are the result of lifestyle choices, such as tobacco use. Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, is the number one risk factor of PAD. If you use tobacco, you should quit immediately, as it greatly raises your risk for cardiovascular disease and plaque buildup in your arteries.
Several other risk factors for PAD, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can be managed through healthy lifestyle choices. For example, following a healthy diet and reducing the amount of fried, processed, and sugary foods you eat can help lower your blood pressure. For diabetics, managing your diabetes diligently and monitoring your blood sugar levels can reduce your risk of PAD. Work with your physician to address your individual risk factors and develop a plan to reduce any risks.
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