Lack of physical movement can lead to peripheral artery disease – experts

By , on September 16, 2015

(PNA photo)
(PNA photo)

MANILA – Cardiologists from the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) on Tuesday highlighted the possibility of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD) due to lack of movement on the legs or lower extremities of the body for long hours.

In a health forum spearheaded by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) at Annabel’s Restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, health experts discussed the importance of awareness on PAD as well as seeking consultation in order for people not to have “killer legs” that can trigger the said illness.

According to Dr. Jenny Beltran, president of Philippine Society of Vascular Medicine, PAD is a common circulatory problem wherein the blood flow is restricted in lower extremities of the body.

“The plaque build-up in your arteries might be depriving the muscles of sufficient blood supply,” said Dr. Beltran.

Beltran added that such condition causes “crampy pain” (intermittent claudification) that sometimes makes a person difficult to walk and do other physical activities.

In layman’s term, she said having PAD is like having dirt in the foot comparable to iron rust (kalawang) which requires cleansing and consulting a physician.

PAD’s common symptoms include painful cramps in hips, thigh or calf muscles, sores on foot, reddish color of legs, itchiness and others.

Once PAD develops and remains undiagnosed, Beltran said it could lead to severe condition that may require leg amputation.

She further added that PAD can also be linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that may lead to blood clot or even death.

Is PAD dangerous?

According to Dr. Norberto O. Tuaño, chair of PHA council on peripheral vascular disease, PAD is dangerous since fatty deposits are building up in the inner linings of the artery walls.

Dr. Tuaño added that such blockades (atherosclerosis) restrict blood flow mainly in arteries leading to the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs and feet.

“Left untreated PAD can lead to gangrene of the legs and amputation of limbs,” Tuaño added.

He also added that most patients with PAD have a higher risk of death due to stroke and heart attack.

He added that PAD can be diagnosed through ABI (ankle brachial index) and other modes.

The disease can be prevented through lifestyle modification or through controlling the risk factors in the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Since lack of physical movement is one of the main causes of PAD, physicians also advised that it is best to try to some light physical activity by moving portions of the feet when caught in several hours of traffic which is a common scenario faced by ordinary commuters everyday.

Meanwhile, physicians said workers whose jobs require long hours of standing or sitting can do some foot exercise to facilitate flow of the blood in the arteries to prevent the risk of developing the disease.