Promoting an increased awareness and standardized approaches in diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease


Two email testimonials on starting home-based exercise from a 77-year-old patient from Maryland with claudication

First Email from Patient

Hi Doctor,

After we spoke yesterday, I walked around the lake behind our house and made more progress than I imagined was possible.

To put this in context, let me give you some background.  The lake is about 1.9 miles in circumference.  My typical pattern for getting around the lake during the first week of exercise therapy was as follows:

INTERVAL 1 — Start from our front door and walk 6 minutes.   Stop at bench #1. Rest 5 minutes.

INTERVAL 2 — Walk 7 minutes.   Stop at East Bridge.  Rest 6 minutes.

INTERVAL 3 — Walk 8 minutes.  Stop at Bench #3.  Rest 6 minutes.

INTERVAL 4 — Walk 7 minutes.  Stop at West Bridge overlook.  Rest 5 minutes.

INTERVAL 5 — Walk 4 minutes.  Stop at Falls overlook.  Rest 5 minutes.

INTERVAL 6 — Walk 8 minutes, back to our front door.



INTERVAL 1 — Walk 13 minutes from front door to East Bridge.  Rest 6 minutes.

Distance = 0.6 Miles

INTERVAL 2 — Walk 18 minutes non-stop to West Bridge overlook.  Rest 6 minutes.

INTERVAL 3 — Walk 9 minutes to bench on a dock.  Rest 5 minutes.

INTERVAL 4 — Walk 3 minutes from dock to our front door.







Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled about my progress.   I plan to be absolutely diligent with the exercising, and to lose more weight.

Second Email from Patient – One Week Later

  1. Hi Doctor,I never thought I’d be writing you again so soon with another encouraging breakthrough.   I’ll try to make this account more succinct.  The bottom line is that walking inside the Mall at a moderate pace, I was able to walk for 40 consecutive minutes without stopping! It amazed me.

    On what I thought would be my first interval of perhaps 10 to 12 minutes, I pushed myself just a bit to keep going, and the pain in my left thigh didn’t intensify to a level where I felt it was necessary to stop.  So I just kept going.  Surprisingly, the longer I walked, the easier it became.  By the time I’d walked for about 30 minutes, I felt I could keep going indefinitely without stopping.

    It helped that I was walking with my wife, so I had someone to talk to, rather than just thinking about the pain.   From time to time we held hands.   Coincidentally, this was the evening of our 19th wedding anniversary.

    I’ve found it easier to walk indoors at the Mall, where all surfaces are flat, compared to outdoors where more upgrades and downgrades put more stress on my legs and result in more pain sooner.

    I should also note that my progress has not come without setbacks.  About two days before I walked 40 minutes non-stop at the Mall, I had a discouraging walk outdoors.  For some reason, my leg seemed to hurt more than normal that day, so I stopped to rest after only 6 minutes of my first interval.  And then I stopped to rest again only 7 minutes later.  And I stopped again about 3 or 4 more times before finishing the full two-mile walk around the lake.  I did this because that’s what my body was telling me to do, and I decided to go with the flow.  I felt like I was making no progress at all.  But then two days later came the 40-minute non-stop walk at the Mall, which surprised the heck out of me.

    I realize, of course, that I’m still not a “normal” healthy person, such as my wife, who can easily walk 40 minutes non-stop around the lake, with no leg pain at all.  When and if I’m able to do that, I’ll begin feeling better about my health and that I’ve really accomplished something.

    But it makes me feel hopeful that I started this walking therapy and within 15 days I was able to go 40 non-stop minutes.  I haven’t missed a day of this therapy and don’t intend to.  Anyway, I felt that events of the last few days were significant enough that you might be interested to know about them.