Sugar Matters
August 7, 2009
Exercise and peripheral vascular disease

This is an article some of you may have been waiting for all along. Aha! A way to make things better WITHOUT MEDICINE!!! You are correct that exercise will help a great deal in peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes on the whole actually. I never said anything to the contrary, did I? However you also need to be honest with yourself about this, as we all should. Raise your right hand and admit to the following first:{{more}}

1) Starting an exercise regimen can be a challenge and many of us put it off-repeatedly.

2) CONTINUING an exercise regimen is even more challenging and most of us fall off the wagon many times, myself included.

3) Some of us get insulted when the doctor or nurse starts talking about exercise, and then simply stop listening. You know who you are out there.

Now that the cards are all on the table, let’s move on, shall we?

First the data: there is excellent research information to show that an exercise regimen will help improve symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, and some formal testing shows actual improvement in blood flow. In fact, some studies show that exercise can be as good as some of the medications we have available for this disease. The sad truth is that exercise is terribly underused and under recommended with regard to peripheral vascular disease because most doctors assume patients will not actually stay with the exercise regimen, and also because many patients really DO NOT stay with it especially at the start when it hurts so much simply to walk. Who wants to do something that hurts? Not many of us, even when we know that good will eventually come of it, correct? But you must persevere.

With that in mind, here is a basic guideline for starting your exercise regimen. You should discuss this with your doctor first before beginning just incase he/she wants to do some other tests before you start.

Set a short-term Goal: do not begin by vaguely saying, “I’m going to exercise”. That just won’t hold at all. You need to have a solid goal: I am going to walk 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Etc

Set a long-term Goal: eventually you will want to work up to higher levels of physical activity. A common goal is the current American heart Association physical activity guidelines of 30minutes of exercise for at least 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes during an entire week.

Know that this is not the casual stroll around town: while any form of physical activity is good, ideally you should be getting aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up. A little stroll around town, liming out on the corner, and then walking a little again is not ideal. Now, if your legs hurt so much that this is all you can do to start, please stay with that, but slowly increase every week.

There is your start. Remember to discuss this with your doctor who will give you some specific guidelines and goals. You are working on this together for your own good. Now hit the road, and work those legs.

Until next week stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227