peripheral artery disease

  1. Peripheral artery disease worsened by red meat

    This one change will protect your arteries

    It's a diagnosis that can -- and should -- change your life.

    When you've been told you have peripheral artery disease, it's not enough to make those changes tomorrow... because PAD will increase your risk of heart attack and stroke TODAY.

    That's the bad news.

    But you know me. I'm not a bad news kind of guy.

    I've got GOOD news -- because it's easy to make some quick changes right now that can help you live a long and healthy life even if you have PAD.

    And you can start with something you know you should be doing anyway: cut back on the red meat.

    I'm not saying give it up completely.

    I know better than to try to stand between a red-blooded carnivore and a thick, juicy steak!

    But you do have to cut back some, because the latest research shows how eating too much of it is a recipe for disaster -- and if you don't cut back right now, your risk of an early death could double.

    The problem, in this case, isn't anything in the meat itself so much as what happens as you digest it.

    The bacteria that breaks it all down ends up pumping out a byproduct called trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO.

    Think of TMAO as Velcro.

    It coats your artery walls and then latches onto cholesterol and other junk as it tries to pass through, causing the buildups that lead to narrow, harder arteries.

    And if you have PAD, you can't afford to let your arteries get harder or more narrow -- because that's what leads to a heart attack or stroke.

    As a result, the new study finds that folks with PAD who have the highest TMAO levels have the highest risk of dying from their condition over five years.

    Now, like I said, I'm not here to ruin your dinner. If you really want a steak, go ahead and treat yourself to one.

    The key word here is "treat," as in something to be eaten sparingly. Limit your red meat to once or twice a week and keep the portions smaller and leaner. In addition, limit full-fat dairy (including cheese) and eggs, as they can also raise your TMAO levels.

    And while you're making changes to your diet, here are two other tweaks that can help.

    First, boost your fiber intake. It helps your gut bacteria work more efficiently and cuts TMAO levels at the same time.

    And second, consider a supplement with the antioxidant resveratrol, as research published earlier this year finds it can sweep through your arteries and clear out the TMAO.

  2. Walking can ease peripheral artery disease

    Take a step away from PAD

    If you're on the other side of 50, you almost certainly know someone with peripheral artery disease. You might even have it yourself, because it's one of the most common conditions among older Americans.

    PAD, as it's called, is when some of your arteries start to narrow, usually in the legs. It can lead to pain and difficulty walking, which is bad enough. But even worse, it can also increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

    If your doctor spots it, he'll almost certainly recommend a stent to prop those arteries back open.

    But new research confirms what I've been telling my own patients: A stent should be your absolute last resort, because you can reverse PAD entirely on your own, without drugs or surgery.

    And all you need to do is walk a little more.

    Walk five days a week for about 50 minutes a day, and you can expect both your speed and distance to improve. In the new study, PAD patients who stuck to the program -- entirely on their own -- were able to walk 87 feet further during a six-minute test one year later.

    PAD patients who didn't walk, on the other hand, actually lost 25 feet during that test.

    This isn't just a race to see who can go further or faster. Distance and speed are key markers of the progression of PAD. If you can pick up the pace a little, the condition is likely improving.

    And if you can't, you're a prime candidate for that stent.

    If walking a little more can help you avoid that, then lace up your shoes and get moving -- it's worth the effort, because once that stent is in, you'll be expected to live with it for the rest of your life.

    And whatever you do, don't assume that pain and difficulty walking are normal parts of aging.

    They're not -- they're warning signs of something wrong, including PAD, and if you're having trouble getting around yourself, don't wait for it to get worse.

    Get help.

  3. Mediterranean diet can prevent peripheral artery disease

    The Mediterranean diet can cut your risk of peripheral artery disease, a painful condition in which the arteries in the legs narrow.
  4. Leg pain could be deadly

    It could be a sign of peripheral artery disease, or blockages in the leg arteries that affect up to 9 million Americans, especially older diabetics.

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