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Tips for vascular health

Everything You Need to Know About Flying with PAD.png

According to the American Heart Association, patients can fly with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) as long as their symptoms are managed. However, this may not be the case for everyone, so always check with your doctor. 

While air travel is relatively safe for PAD patients, it doesn’t come without risk. Flights over four hours require passengers to remain still for long periods of time which can cause blood flow to decrease and increase the chance of a blood clot. This is especially concerning for people with PAD as their arteries are already narrowed and blood flow is more difficult. 

High altitude is also a concern as it affects PAD. Although cabins are pressurized, air may be thin at times and this puts more strain on the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

As a person with PAD, it’s best to be prepared and know the facts. Here are 6 things you can do to make flying safer and more comfortable:

#1: Keep medications readily available

Put your medications in your carry-on instead of your checked luggage. Before leaving the house, make sure to take pictures of your prescriptions and their dosages just in case you lose them.

#2: Stay hydrated

As soon as you get through security, purchase a large bottle of water and drink it. Fill it up before boarding the plane and continue to drink it on the flight. Studies have shown that proper hydration can reduce claudification. To prevent dehydration, avoid alcohol before and during the flight. 

#3: Wear compression socks 

Compression socks help improve blood flow throughout the legs. Talk with your doctor to determine if you need them and what kind. 

#4: Move around at least every 2 hours

Unfortunately, space is quite limited on a flight, but it’s still important to stretch your legs. Get up and use the bathroom. Take a walk up and down the aisle. Keep leg room clear so you can move around more. You can also do this exercise several times in your seat which requires pulling your knees up to your chest and holding them there for 15 seconds. 

#5: Know the symptoms of a blood clot

Get medical help right away if you suspect a blood clot. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Warmth on the affected area

  • Change of color

  • Cramping

  • Trouble breathing

  • Excessive swelling

#6: Avoid excessive salt

Longer flights normally provide meals. This food may have more sodium than you’re normally used to. Be sure to pack healthy, low sodium options in your carry-on. The buildup of excessive sodium can exacerbate PAD symptoms.

Before traveling, please consult with a physician. Vascular Associates of South Alabama is the leading provider of vascular care in South Alabama. We welcome the opportunity to treat you. 

Contact Us!

PHONE: 251-410-8272 
FAX: (251) 410-8273
EMAIL: info@myvasadoc.net


5 Ways to Slow  the Progression  of Peripheral  Artery Disease.png

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can be a difficult condition to live with as it affects blood flow to the extremities and organs. This illness should never be left untreated as it could lead to life-threatening complications like stroke, amputation, kidney disease and heart attack. 

While there isn’t currently a cure for PAD, the symptoms from the disease can be managed with lifestyle changes or even minimally-invasive procedures. Making these changes can help slow the progression of the disease and its symptoms. Here’s five ways:

#1: Exercise Regularly 

No need to start off by running a marathon… Walking is a perfectly good exercise to reduce the development of PAD symptoms. In fact, studies have found that the severity of PAD symptoms is less when patients engage in regular physical activity. Remember, consistency is key! 

#2: Stop Smoking

Smoking is terrible for one’s health for numerous reasons, but it’s especially troublesome for patients with PAD. When it comes to this disease, smoking increases the risk of complications and death as it constricts the arteries. Upon diagnosis, patients should work with their physician to develop a plan that helps them quit smoking as soon as possible.

#3: Eat Healthy 

A healthy diet is always recommended as it helps with health issues like diabetes and high cholesterol. With PAD, many patients have underlying conditions that are positively affected by a healthier meal plan. Many physicians suggest the Mediterranean diet as it reduces the consumption of dairy and red meat which may contribute to arterial plaque. 

#4: Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking can affect the heart and its ability to pump blood throughout the body. PAD already causes narrowed vessels. Mixed with cardiomyopathy, PAD symptoms may be worsened. The best course of action is to entirely cut out or limit the amount of alcohol consumed. 

#5: Take Care of the Feet

PAD is worsened by diabetes and can worsen diabetic peripheral neuropathy. To prevent ulcers or amputation, it’s important to follow proper foot care like:

  • Treating infections immediately

  • Washing feet regularly and thoroughly

  • Inspecting for injuries

  • Visiting the doctor promptly when something won’t heal

Before making any changes to your lifestyle, please consult with a physician. Vascular Associates of South Alabama is the leading provider of vascular care in South Alabama. We welcome the opportunity to treat you. 

Contact Us!

PHONE: 251-410-8272 
FAX: (251) 410-8273
EMAIL: info@myvasadoc.net



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