St. Mary’s Launches New Program for People with PAD

The Lake Oconee Boomers Team

Updated on:

St. Mary’s Wellness Center has launched a new medical wellness program to help patients diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD is caused by the same problem that causes most heart attacks and strokes – clogged blood vessels – but it happens in the arms and legs.

According to Oconee Heart and Vascular Center cardiologist Clay Chappell, M.D., exercise therapy is a Class 1 recommendation by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association for people with PAD. St. Mary’s new PAD Exercise Program allows patients to exercise up to three times a week in a controlled, supervised setting at the Wellness Center. Here, they can work on increasing their cardiovascular endurance, such as the distance they can walk without pain, while having vital signs and perceived exertion closely monitored by one of the Wellness Center’s degreed exercise specialists.

“In many patients, adherence to a supervised exercise program can improve symptoms better than invasive treatments, such as surgery or endovascular procedures,” Dr. Chappell said.

Dr. Chappell said studies show appropriate exercise may help patient with PAD reduce leg pain, improve muscle tone, trim weight, reduce risk factors for a heart attack or stroke, improve overall sense of well-being and ease feelings of anxiety and depression.

Angela Hix, who also supervises the Wellness Center’s Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab Program, runs the new PAD Exercise Program. For more information about the program, call Hix at 706.389.3355 or email her at