Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can be a painful and risky ordeal. Coming back from it is no easy task, and how you approach recovery can have a significant influence on your risk of heart disease-related death or illness.
A new study is drawing a close distinction between a person’s mental state and their ability to recover from PAD optimally. The study, led by researchers at Yale University, suggests that depressive symptoms are a significant impediment to recovery.
Peripheral artery disease is a narrowing of smaller arteries throughout the body. Although most common in the legs, PAD can also affect blood vessels in the stomach, arm, and head. It can affect energy, functionality, mobility, and quality of life.
The condition can also boost the risk of illness of death from heart disease.
Published in the Journal of American Heart Health, the study found that people with depressive symptoms were less likely to recover from the condition than people who did not report such symptoms. Put simply, your mental state matters.
Depression can add stress and further pressure on your heart. It can activate your immune system, exacerbating other conditions and taxing natural bodily systems designed to keep you healthy. It can also affect outlook, making people less likely to believe they can heal.
There is no simple treatment for depression. It’s not as black and white as treating physical health. For example, doctors know ways to encourage better circulation and treat PAD. They might not be sure of the best way to help improve a patient’s overall happiness.
Depending on the degree of depression, a person may be served by making meaningful connections with people, adopting an exercise program, or accomplishing small goals and participating in hobbies. Others may require professional help.
When you’re working on your mental state, it’s important to remember to do things for your body. Using ways to improve blood flow and relax veins can help make things easier on your heart while you prioritize your mind.
Some of the things that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote healthier blood flow through arteries include:
- Eating food, or supplementing, to boost blood nitric oxide levels. Some foods to include are beets, beetroot juice, garlic, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and meats.
- Limit intake of processed foods
- Exercise more
- Spend time enjoying nature