Summer is right around the corner, and for many Americans that means taking a vacation or two. For those Americans with peripheral artery disease traveling this summer could bring complications because of their health condition. Advanced Radiology advises patients talk to their physician and take extra steps to protect their health while on vacation this year.
Peripheral artery disease is a cardiovascular condition that causes narrowing of the arteries in the extremities. Symptoms of the condition include numbness and tingling in the legs, cramps and pain in the legs and calves, sores on the legs and feet that do not heal, and thickening of the skin on the feet.
The 411 on flying. It’s true that flying can cause complications for PAD patients. Complications stem from sitting for long periods- which can cause blood clots in PAD patients. PAD patients have reduced blood flow to their extremities already as a part of their condition, and sitting down for a long period of time further reduces blood flow. Blood carries vital oxygen to the extremities and tissues, and without it, tissues begin to die. Patients with peripheral artery disease are encouraged to get up and walk around when it is safe to do so on the plane.
High altitudes can also increase the symptoms of many medical conditions, so prepare for your symptoms to be potentially heightened when you’re high in the sky.
Car trips can cause complications, too. If you have PAD and you are road tripping this summer, you should also be mindful that you need to get out and walk around while you’re on the road. Taking a break to see the sites is the perfect time to stretch your legs and keep your blood moving, and prevent blood clots. Take frequent breaks along your route to protect your health.
Hydrate to protect your heart. The summer heat can make you dehydrated quickly. This is especially dangerous for heart patients. Be sure to drink plenty of water while taking in the sights. Also, watch your salt intake- vacation often means eating on the road where you have less control over ingredients and salt.
Talk to your doctor. Before you head out on vacation, let your doctor know about your trip. Your doctor will be able to tell you what precautions you need to take, and may suggest interventions like compression socks or oxygen, if necessary.
For questions about traveling with PAD, call Advanced Radiology today at 855.201.1519.