Leg Cramps, Ache? It May Be PAD

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Leg Cramps, Pain? It Could Be PAD

MONDAY, Feb. 28, 2022

Pain or cramping in your legs throughout bodily exercise could also be an early signal of a situation referred to as peripheral artery disease (PAD) — and it’s best to get checked out by your physician, an skilled says.

PAD happens when plaque develops within the arteries of the extremities and restricts blood movement to the legs, and generally the arms. The situation is extra widespread in older folks, and impacts as much as 10% of these of their 60s and 70s.

In essentially the most extreme instances, PAD can result in amputation, based on Dr. Matthew Cindric, a vascular surgeon with Penn State Well being.

PAD causes no signs in its earliest levels. The primary and most typical symptom folks discover is repeated pain, cramping or heaviness in a single or each legs throughout walking or exercise. These signs happen as a result of muscle tissue cannot get sufficient oxygen and vitamins.

As PAD advances, signs usually develop into extra extreme, and may embrace wounds or ulcers on the feet that will not heal, or steady pain or numbness. Both of those could also be precursors to onset of gangrene.

“Vascular issues are inclined to escalate quickly with out immediate prognosis and intervention, notably in sufferers who’ve wounds on the feet that will not heal,” Cindric stated in a Penn State Well being information launch. “The sooner you discover the indicators and get evaluated, the earlier we are able to get you on a path towards therapeutic.”

When you discover any indicators of PAD, discuss together with your physician, Cindric stated. Therapies can embrace diet adjustments, exercise, drugs or procedures to open blocked arteries.

Genetics play a job in PAD, however the different 4 of the 5 prime threat elements are controllable: smoking, high blood pressure, excessive blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar or diabetes.

Smoking is way and away the chief,” Cindric stated. “PAD is way extra prevalent in smokers than nonsmokers.”

He provided the next recommendation for folks with PAD.

“Begin with smoking cessation, get right into a structured exercise behavior, and work together with your [doctor] to handle these threat elements,” Cindric stated. “Even in case you in the end require a surgical intervention, long-term outcomes are strongly depending on how effectively these different elements are managed.”

Extra data

There’s extra on peripheral artery disease (PAD) on the American Heart Association.

SOURCE: Penn State Well being, information launch, Feb. 24, 2022

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