Claudication is a main symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), also known as peripheral artery stenosis. PAD is a condition in which the blood vessels or arteries in the lower area legs and feet will begin to narrow over time as a result of excess fatty plaque deposit buildup, along the walls of these arteries. Due to this narrowing of the arteries, the blood flow to the lower extremities will be greatly reduced, and patients will often experience moderate to severe pain while walking or taking part in any movements.
Symptoms of Claudication
Those patients suffering from Peripheral Artery Disease will generally experience little to no symptoms, aside from claudication.
Due to the lack of blood flow to the lower extremities, claudication will generally include muscle pain and cramping, brought on by walking and other activities. Depending upon the specific location of the narrowing arteries, the pain will be concentrated in different areas. However, it is most commonly associated with the calf muscle region.
The main symptoms associated with Claudication are:
- Leg Pain During Exercise.
- Intermittent Pain – comes and goes with the onset of any strenuous activities.
- Pain While at Rest – this may occur as the condition progresses.
- Skin Discolorations – with greatly reduced blood flow to the lower limbs, they will turn a pale bluish color, and will often be cold to the touch.
- Ulcerations – Due to the lack of blood flow sores will often develop along the legs, these sores will not heal easily.
Risk Factors of Claudication
- High Cholesterol
- Obesity and Being Overweight
- Age – Those over 70 have a high chance of developing claudication and smokers over the age of 50 have a similar rate of incidence.
- Family History of Atherosclerosis – The narrowing & clogging of the arterial walls.
Once diagnostics have been run, it will help reveal the location as well as the extent of your arterial stenosis. Depending upon the reasoning for your claudication, there are a few recommended treatment options, including:
- Medication – Aspirin and other meds to reduce the likelihood of blood clots; and medication to help clear the arterial walls and improve blood flow. Also, a statin to help reduce your cholesterol.
- Angioplasty – For more severe cases, in which the blood vessels need to be opened up using a balloon or stent.
- Vascular Surgery – Replacing the damaged or narrowed blood vessel with a healthy one.