Best Diet for Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease


2016-10-24 15:40

Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD is a narrowing of the blood vessels – most commonly in the legs – that can lead to an increased risk of very serious health conditions. Diet plays a very important part in the care of PAD.

About 8.5 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, according to the American Heart Association. Fat and other substances builds up in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and restrict or block blood flow. If left untreated, can lead to complete loss of circulation in the legs and feet and could increase the risk of loss of limb or heart attack or stroke.

The standard heart-healthy diet may not be enough to reduce risks when it comes to PAD. New research indicates that a compound produced during the breakdown of red meat and eggs within the digestive system increases the risk of early death.

Trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, is a digestive byproduct produced by the gut bacteria that breaks down animal products such as meat and eggs. A new study has found that those with peripheral artery disease who also had high levels of TMAO in their blood had nearly a three times higher risk of dying within five years, compared with those with the lowest levels.

Vegetarians tend to have lower TMAO levels, notes Dr. W.H. Wilson Tang of the Cleveland Clinic. But you don’t have to cut out all animal products to see benefits. Following a Mediterranean diet or other diet that cuts out red and processed meat can potentially reduce risk.

Dr. Robert Eckel, a spokesman for the American Heart Association and a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, said, "This is another example of how what we eat affects our lives. We've identified a heart-healthy diet. The idea is to consume a diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and legumes, while limiting red meat and fat.”

In addition to diet changes, it is also important to stop smoking, increase exercise, lose weight, and control chronic conditions that affect your heart such as high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol levels).

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Reference:
W.H. Wilson Tang, M.D., professor, medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Robert Eckel, M.D., spokesman, American Heart Association, professor, medicine, University of Colorado Denver; Oct. 19, 2016, Journal of the American Heart Association

Photo Credit:
By Jámbor Márton user:Marci1994 - Own work, GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons