Health Care

How to Lower Your Risk for Peripheral Artery Disease

A Group of Senior Women Take a Break From a Run to Share a Laugh

Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.

Your vascular system is a superhighway of vessels that keep oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood flowing throughout your body. But when a clot or artery-clogging plaque builds up in your vessels, it can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD).

PAD is common, affecting 8.5 million Americans age 40 and over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have PAD, you’re also at risk for developing serious diseases, such as coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, which can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

A classic sign of PAD is pain in your leg or calf when you’re walking. This pain goes away when you stop walking.

If you’re concerned about any of these conditions, our vascular specialists are here to help.

Our world-class team has the expertise and training to diagnose vascular conditions early and provide you with expert vascular treatment — including medical management, minimally invasive therapy (such as balloons or stents) or surgical therapy — so you can continue to live life to the fullest.

Types of Vascular Surgeries

Some common vascular procedures include:

  • Carotid endarterectomy/carotid stenting
  • Endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm reconstruction repair (EVAR)
  • Peripheral angiogram/balloon angioplasty/stent
  • Peripheral bypass surgery
  • Limb salvage
  • Aortic surgery and reconstruction
  • Dialysis access and reconstruction

In addition to PAD, our vascular specialists have extensive experience treating all forms of vascular disease, including aneurysm, atherosclerosis, carotid artery disease, renal vascular disease and venous disease, including clots and varicose veins.

Lower Your Risk for PAD

To set you on the path to improved vascular health, follow these tips to build more activity into your days:

Combine Exercise With a Nutritious, Low-Calorie Diet

According to the CDC, most weight loss occurs when people consume fewer calories. Consider: For the average 154-pound person, one hour of brisk walking burns off just 290 calories, which is about the same number of calories in a doughnut.

CREATION Life, our wellness program, reminds us to eat a variety of foods prepared in different ways, and not to be fooled by the latest diet trends that don’t focus on a person’s whole health. By eating plenty of “the first fast foods,” fruits and vegetables, you’re lowering your calorie intake while also helping your body and brain rid themselves of free-radical damage from all the healthy antioxidants, phytochemicals and carotenoids they contain.

Check out these low-calorie, heart-healthy, delicious recipes here.

Aim for at Least 22 Minutes of Physical Activity a Day

While you’re cutting calories, the CDC recommends working your way up to at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense aerobic activity. This is equal to:

  • About 22 minutes each day or 50 minutes three times per week, or
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or
  • An equivalent mix of the two each week

There are many ways to sneak those 22 minutes of movement into your days. You’re in the moderately intense exercise zone if you’re breathing harder and faster, but you can still carry on a conversation. Examples of moderately intense activities include:

  • Actively playing with your kids
  • Biking at a casual pace (less than 10 mph)
  • Brisk walking — a 15-minute mile pace
  • Hiking
  • Light yard work

These moderately intense physical activities will burn 140 to 185 calories in 30 minutes for the average 154-pound person.

To make sure you’ll stick with your exercise routine, choose physical activities you enjoy and that match your abilities.

Pick Up the Pace

If you’d like to burn more calories in the same amount of time, vigorous physical activities will get the job done. The average 154-pound person will burn 295 calories in 30 minutes of running, jogging or bicycling, compared with 140 to 145 calories expended when bicycling or walking more leisurely.

Other examples of vigorous activities and big calorie burners include:

  • Aerobics (240 calories/30 minutes)
  • Basketball (220 calories/30 minutes)
  • Swimming (255 calories/30 minutes)
  • Walking fast (230 calories/30 minutes)

Work in Weekly Weight-Training Sessions

To round out your workout routine, be sure to strength train at least twice a week. The CDC recommends lifting weights to work all major muscle groups, including your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Strength training helps you to maintain muscle mass and bone strength, which is especially important as you get older.

Focus on Better Health

Besides helping you get stronger and shed excess pounds, regular physical activity can make a big impact on your overall health. Physical activity helps to reduce:

  • Arthritis pain and disability associated with arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Risk for heart attack, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and several forms of cancer
  • Risk for osteoporosis and falls
  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety

We’re Dedicated to Your Vascular Health

At AdventHealth, our goal is to keep you healthy and whole, helping you to prevent disease before it starts. But when illness impacts you or your family, we’re here to heal. Whether you need vascular surgery or preventive care for a vascular condition, we look forward to helping you get on a healing path.

To make an appointment, visit

Recent Blogs

Doctor looking at a brain CT scan.
What to Know About Huntington’s Disease
A mom chopping vegetables with her daughters in the kitchen.
Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies
Your 2024 Wellness Checklist
Surgeons performing bariatric surgery
Should I Have Bariatric Surgery in a Hospital?
Sharlene’s Transformation to Health and Happiness Through Bariatric Surgery
View More Articles