Can you walk more? That may be the last question that you want to hear when you have a blood vessel condition called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. Even walking short distances, as you likely know, may cause your legs to cramp up.
But doctors say that if you push yourself to move more often and walk farther, you will actually feel better. John Osborne, MD, PhD, a cardiologist in Dallas, says including supervised rehab therapy will give you the best results -- and the pain will be worth the gain.
Rehab focuses on “continuing to push your walking up until it hurts,” he says. “But, if you continue to do that, it will actually tend to help build in additional collateral [blood] vessels or bridging vessels around the blocked vessels.”
PAD happens when plaque builds up in your peripheral arteries. Those arteries carry blood away from your heart to other areas of your body, such as the arms and the legs.