Intermittent Claudication: A Cause of Leg Cramps
The body relies on circulation to ensure that all parts and tissue receive the nourishment they need. When this process is impaired by a condition like peripheral arterial disease, it can lead to a range of issues, including intermittent claudication. Being able to understand and recognize claudication may actually play a big role in keeping you safe from serious medical emergencies.
Peripheral Arterial and Vascular Diseases
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and peripheral vascular disease (PVD) are related conditions where the vessels that allow blood to flow to and from the heart become narrowed. These conditions can seriously affect your circulation and need to be addressed. For some individuals, there are no symptoms present. When there a symptom does exist, it is often intermittent claudication.
Leg Cramps during Activity
Essentially, claudication is pain experienced when blood flow is too little, especially during physical activity. When present, it will typically affect the legs, although some patients report feeling it in their arms as well. Initially, the pain will only be noticed while you are active, but as the condition progresses, pain also can be felt during periods of rest. In addition to pain, other symptoms include weakness, a burning or aching feeling, and ulcerations or discolored skin.
Intermittent claudication is typically considered to be a symptom of either PAD or PVD. With either of these conditions, narrowed blood vessels can harden over time as they are clogged with plaque and cholesterol buildup. Other conditions can also cause claudication, like spinal stenosis, deep venous thrombosis, and some musculoskeletal conditions.
Claudication Risk Factors and Complications
Risk factors that make it more likely for an individual to have this problem include obesity, diabetes, smoking, old age, family history, and high cholesterol and/or blood pressure. One of the complications of this problem is the reduced ability for the body to heal injuries, which is particularly concerning for those who live with diabetes. This can create a situation where ulcers or cuts become gangrenous and limb amputation becomes necessary.
The three main approaches for professional treatment are medication, angioplasty, or vascular surgery.
Medications that might be used include ones to prevent clotting, reduce symptoms, lower cholesterol, and improve circulation.
Angioplasty is a procedure used to widen blood vessels to increase circulation. Once a vessel has been widened, a stent or small metal tube is placed inside to keep the artery open.
Vascular surgery will typically entail replacing a damaged vessel with a healthy one to alleviate symptoms.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Choices
With regard to both home remedies and prevention measures, we strongly advise our patients to consider making healthy lifestyle choices to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of the condition developing in the first place. These include such steps as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, keeping tabs on cholesterol levels, and eating a well-balanced, nutritionally sound diet.
First-Class Care for Intermittent Claudication in Plano, TX
Treatment for this condition is an important service we provide at Dallas Podiatry Works. In addition to addressing painful symptoms, we can help you lower the risk of dangerous medical conditions like heart attacks and strokes. We are foot doctors, but our concern is with your entire well-being and health. You matter to us and we want to keep you safe!Contact us today for more information by calling toll-free (888) 716-5283 or schedule an appointment at either our Dallas or Plano, TX podiatrist office online today. We can diagnose your condition and ensure that you receive the care you need.