Between 8 and 10 million people in the United States are currently living with PAD, or peripheral arterial disease, a condition that occurs when the arteries that transport blood from the heart throughout the body narrow, reducing blood and oxygen flow. The most common symptom of PAD is intermittent limping that often manifests as cramps, numbness and feeling of heaviness (in the legs) during physical exertion.

PAD primarily affects the legs and feet causing symptoms while walking, such as weakness, fatigue, aching, and pain or discomfort that subside within 10 minutes of rest. Previous research found that walking for exercise, particularly on a treadmill while supervised by a staff member, improves walking ability and walking distance among those living with PAD. We all know how important exercising is for the mind and body, but it can be difficult when it’s painful.

In a recent study in the journal of the American Heart Association, it was determined that people with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, who walked for exercise at a pace that induced pain or discomfort increased their walking speed, leg function, and ability more than those who walked at a comfortable pace.

The findings come from a study examining the effects of home-based walking for exercise among 264 people with PAD.

While we all know that there are benefits from walking, we now know that specific exercise that induces leg pain is beneficial, even though it is difficult.

It’s important that PAD is caught early with early detection to avoid heart attacks, strokes, ulcerations, and even amputations. How can PAD be detected? A simple ABI test, or Ankle-Brachial Index test is a simple comparison of blood pressure in legs and arms. It is non-invasive and painless.

At medi, we have the MESI ABPI, an ABPI measuring device that takes an ABI in as little as one minute. This simple device is quick and saves time in doctor’s offices with accurate and objective results.

PAD is a lifelong medical condition, but this study proves that even though who live with PAD can still live active lives.