According to the Sleep Foundation, you should sleep for about seven or nine hours every night if you are a healthy adult. Clinical studies show that if your sleep frequently lasts less than seven hours, you become at high risk of numerous health issues, including a weakened immune system. St. Louis peripheral artery disease may be one of the reasons you may not have adequate sleep. Also called peripheral arterial disease or PAD, peripheral artery disease affects more than six million Americans aged 40 and older, according to the CDC.
When you have peripheral artery disease, your arteries’ walls have an unusual accumulation of fatty deposits and calcium. As a result, the affected blood vessels become narrow to impede normal blood flow to your arms or legs.
Since your legs do not receive sufficient blood flow, you may experience severe leg pain and cramping, making walking, sleeping, or performing other physical activities unbearable.
Subsequently, below is the link between peripheral artery disease and sleep deprivation.
1. Increased pain in the legs at night
Because your arteries are narrowed and hardened, it limits blood flow to the legs and feet. Thus, the leg aches and pain may last for a few minutes or hours, especially as you sleep. It is still unclear why PAD causes more pain in your legs when you are asleep or resting.
Painful legs may disrupt sleep, forcing you to wake up and seek relief. You may also wake up because of a tingling sensation in your toes or foot.
Standing or hanging your legs over the bed’s side can help minimize the pain and tingling sensation, and thus you can resume sleeping. That is possible because you force blood flow into your legs.
2. Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent starting and stopping of breathing or passage of insufficient air in your airways. Because your breathing is affected, your sleep may be interrupted without you knowing.
You are at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea if you are obese or overweight.
Since airways only allow the passage of insufficient air during breathing, your body may become inflamed, which can interfere with your blood vessels and heart. If the arteries in your limbs develop scars, they will become narrow.
3. Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
The condition makes you have an uncontrollable, frequent urge to move your legs, especially when sitting or lying down. Moving your legs often relieves the uncomfortable sensation temporarily.
About 20% of people with peripheral arterial disease also have restless legs syndrome. Generally, the movement of your legs as you sleep will wake you up. Although PAD does not trigger restless leg syndrome, there is a link between the two conditions.
If you have PAD and want to minimize its effects and improve blood circulation to your legs, there are various tips you may find helpful. You may need to stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet frequently, go for a massage, sleep in positions that do not affect your blood circulation, and perform light exercises such as strolling.
Contact Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT) today to schedule an appointment with a peripheral artery disease specialist.