Aging and Mobility
There’s a common misconception that aging and limited mobility go hand in hand, but that doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, a key component of healthy aging is maintaining optimal mobility.
Unfortunately, as much as we all want to age with optimal mobility, it’s not always easy. Poor lifestyle choices, inactivity, diabetes, and smoking can all limit mobility, leaving older adults with pain, weakness, and even cramping. This discomfort prevents individuals from doing the things they love and affects their independence.
Limited Mobility and PAD
Many of the risk factors associated with limited mobility are related to peripheral artery disease, or PAD. PAD is common in older adults, affecting nearly 25% of Americans age 80 and older.
Caused by atherosclerosis, or fatty buildup (plaque) in the blood vessels and arteries that affect the arms, legs, and other parts of the body, PAD can lead to dangerous consequences like non-healing sores on the legs or feet that require amputation if not properly treated. When plaques form, they narrow the artery walls, making it difficult for the legs or other extremities to receive adequate blood flow.
Correcting Mobility Problems
If you are suffering from limited mobility, there are steps you can take to reset your body and get moving again. After all, the body is a machine that can be tuned up! Start by working with a physician to manage your weight; eat a healthy, low-fat diet; quit smoking; and develop an exercise program to increase physical activity.
If the above steps do not provide relief from pain, weakness, and limited mobility, a PAD evaluation is recommended. This involves a simple and painless ultrasound test. If PAD is detected, a vascular surgeon can help widen any narrowed or blocked arteries, allowing for restored blood flow and improved circulation and mobility.
Getting older doesn’t mean saying goodbye to mobility! Listen to your body and address any concerns early. Making adjustments where necessary will allow you to stay happy, healthy, and independent. HS