HEALTH: Doug Fugate is a lover of travel. Traveling can be tiring and require a lot of walking. And that can be tricky because Fugate has peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which narrowed arteries prevent blood from flowing easily to his legs and arms.
Fugate, who’s 58 and lives in Austin, TX, has had two femoral-popliteal bypasses to open blocked arteries in his legs. These bypasses should be kept open. Fugate is a regular runner, even on planes when he travels. Fugate says that walking is often the best treatment for people with PAD.
Many people with PAD can travel safely, says Kurtis Kim, MD, director of The Vascular Laboratory at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Smart preparations can help you make your trip more enjoyable if you have PAD that makes it difficult to walk.
Know your limits. If you are going to an airport or train station, you should ask ahead if there is any assistance or wheelchairs available. Fugate’s leg discomfort has subsided since his operation to increase blood flow to his legs. He can now travel to airports with no assistance.
Still, “sometimes running from terminal to terminal puts a lot of stress on my right foot,” he says. I’m good if I’m not carrying anything, but typically I have my laptop bag and a carry-on, so the extra weight puts pressure on my PAD foot.” If so, Fugate stops and shakes his foot for about 15 seconds, then keeps going when it feels better.
Fugate started a Facebook group called P.A.D. Several years ago. Support Group (PAD / PVD), which now has more than 2,400 members. It has become a valuable resource for advice and tips on living with PAD.
It may be a good idea to walk before getting stuck in a train or plane seat. Fugate will try to get there earlier than he must to allow him to take a break and walk slowly.
When booking a hotel, check if the building has an elevator. Fugate also suggests that you request an accessible room.
On the Plane
When Fugate flies, he tries to move his legs around often.That’s not always easy given the cabin room in airplanes, but even a simple move like taking off his shoes and resting his feet on top of them can help. He also gets up for walks down the aisle every 30 minutes or so to keep his blood flowing.
Steve Hamburger is a semi-retired marketer from Westlake Village, CA. He agrees that legroom can sometimes be a problem. He suggests that you upgrade to have more legroom when flying if you are able to.
Like Fugate, Hamburger gets up and walks the aisles in an effort to keep dangerous blood clots from forming. Hamburger also avoids alcohol and tries to stay hydrated.
In the Car
Since Fugate’s PAD affects his right foot, which he uses to drive, car travel can be challenging. He says that his foot can fall asleep after driving for several hours. He stops every hour to walk and stretch, in order to prevent this. This also helps to reduce swelling in the lower legs and feet and reduces the risk of a blood clot in the veins, called deep vein thrombosis.
If he’s sitting in a car, he can move his legs and find a comfortable position.
Doctors recommend a regular walking program for people with PAD: with time and practice, the more you walk, the less it hurts. Keep walking if you plan to travel.
Fugate believes that walking is an essential ingredient to safe travel. “To help combat the negative side effects of PAD, I walk 10,000 or more steps a day and keep myself hydrated. He says that he always carries a few bottles of water when he is traveling.
Fugate plans activities that involve walking. He may, for example, look for a trail with benches that allows him to rest and sit down.
Hamburger also swears by walking. Hamburger says that he doesn’t experience major issues when traveling with PAD as long as he follows a regular walking routine.
Hamburger prefers to go on vacation to the mountains or the beach, as there are walking and hiking trails. Bad weather doesn’t stop him. “If it means walking the corridors of a hotel when it’s raining outside, I do that.”
For mor dWeb.News Health and Medical News at https://dweb.news/news-sections/health-medical-news/
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