Posted 06/26/2018

MCCH supervised exercise therapy program

Murray-Calloway County Hospital announces a new program of Supervised Exercise Therapy (SET) for people with severe leg pain caused by peripheral artery disease or PAD.  PAD is known by many names—peripheral vascular disease (PVD), leg atherosclerosis, claudication, or poor circulation. Arteries can slowly become narrowed and blocked as a consequence of age, smoking, high blood cholesterol or diabetes. Less blood reaching the muscles in the legs causes pain, like angina makes the heart muscle hurt. Classic PAD leg pain, or claudication, will appear during exertion and go away with rest.

Although there is no cure for PAD, it can usually be effectively treated by a healthier lifestyle, daily exercise and medications to decrease leg pain and to improve one’s chance of avoiding heart attack or stroke. For individuals with the most severe blockages, skin ulcers, non-healing wounds, or even gangrene can occur. With prompt treatment, pain can be lessened and severe complications can be avoided. When it comes to exercise, the most effective exercise is walking. Walking has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PAD, particularly leg pain. And supervised walking is more effective than walking alone. “Improving walking distance and making modest lifestyle changes can improve quality of life for individuals with peripheral artery disease,” comments Keena Miller, Director of Cardiopulmonary Rehab at MCCH, “The key is to detect it early and start exercise therapy as the first line of defense against progression of the disease.” Miller also notes that it is vital to work with your health care provider to reduce all risk factors associated with peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease.

The good news is that Medicare now covers supervised exercise therapy for PAD. Patients are required to visit a doctor to receive a referral for supervised exercise therapy and other educational resources that can help cut down on the prevalence of side effects.

Supervised exercise therapy for PAD is offered in the cardiac and pulmonary rehab department located on the first floor of the Medical Arts Building at Murray-Calloway County Hospital. Medicare and other insurance plans will typically cover 3 visits per week up to 12 weeks. Each visit consists of 45 – 60 minutes of exercise and lifestyle education. According to Denise Orten, RN and supervisor of the cardiac rehab program, the same risk factors that make a person vulnerable for heart disease are the factors associated with PAD. “So it makes sense that those patients will benefit from education and disease self-management opportunities that already exist in Cardiac Rehab.”

For more information about Peripheral Artery Disease or the new Supervised Exercise Therapy program at MCCH, call 270-762-1531.