Doug Fugate likes to travel. But going to places can require a lot of walking and sitting long distances – in cars, trains or planes. And it can be difficult because Fugate has peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which narrows butcher prevents blood from flowing easily to his legs and arms.
Fugate, 58, who lives in Austin, TX, had two femoral-popliteal bypasses to open blocked veins in his legs. He wants to keep these bypasses open. When traveling, Fugate makes sure he moves regularly, even when he’s on a plane. “Walking is often the best medicine for PAD,” he says.
To get around
Many people with PAD can travel safely, says Kurtis Kim, MD, director of The Vascular Laboratory at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. But if PAD walking is painful, smart preparations can make your journey smoother.
Know your limits. For example, if you are on your way to the airport or a train station, if you think you may need it, ask in advance if wheelchairs or other assistance is available. Since his surgery to open the bloodstream to his legs, Fugate’s leg pain is minimal enough that he can get by without a wheelchair at airports.
Still, “sometimes running from terminal to terminal puts a lot of stress on my right foot,” he says. I’m fine if I do not carry anything, but typically I have my laptop bag and a hand luggage, so the extra weight puts pressure on my PAD foot. ” If so, stop Fugate and shake his foot for about 15 seconds, then continue when it feels better.
A few years ago, Fugate created a Facebook group, PAD Support Group (PAD / PVD), which now has more than 2,400 members. With so many people in the group, it has become a valuable resource for advice on how to live with PAD, including travel tips.
It may help to walk a little extra before getting stuck in your plane or train seat. Fugate tries to arrive earlier than he needs to, so he has time to walk slowly and rest along the way.
When booking a hotel, find out if there is an elevator or ask for a lower floor. You can also request a room with accessibility features, says Fugate.
On the plane
When Fugate flies, he tries to move his legs around regularly. It is not always easy given the cabin room in airplanes, but even a simple movement such as taking off his shoes and resting his feet on top of them can help. He also gets up every 30 minutes for steps down the hall to make his blood flow.
Steve Hamburger, a semi-retired marketer in Westlake Village, CA, agrees that legroom can be a problem. If you can afford it, “try to upgrade to more legroom when you fly,” he says.
Like Fugate, Hamburger gets up and walks the corridors in an attempt to stay dangerous blood clot of formation. He also tries to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol in the air.
In the car
As Fugate’s PAD affects his right foot, which he uses to drive, car travel can be challenging. “My foot tends to fall asleep after a few hours of driving,” he says. To prevent this, he stops every hour to climb, walk and stretch. It also helps 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 is a passenger on a long ride, he can move his legs around and find a position that is comfortable for him.
Doctors recommend a regular walking program for people with PAD: with time and exercise, the more you walk, the less it hurts. If you are planning a trip, make sure you start or continue a good walking regimen at home so that pain does not hinder your trip.
Fugate says walking is a key ingredient for safe travel. “To help combat the negative side effects of PAD, I walk 10,000 or more steps a day and keep myself hydrated. When I know I’m going to travel, I make sure I have a few bottles of water in my pocket, ”he says.
Fugate also plans activities that include walking. For example, he could look for a hiking trail that also has benches along the way to sit and rest.
Hamburger also swears by walking. “I do not have big problems when I travel with PAD because I try to maintain my walking regime every day,” he says.
For holidays, choose Hamburger excursions to the beach or the mountains, where there are hiking or hiking trails. He does not let bad weather get in the way. “If it means walking in a hotel corridor when it’s raining outside, I do it.”