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Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent Claudication: Introduction

Peripheral artery disease, also called PAD, includes a group of diseases that cause a narrowing of the arteries that are outside of the brain and heart. The most common areas of the body affected by peripheral artery disease include the legs and the pelvis, especially the kidneys.

There are two general underlying causes of peripheral artery disease. These include diseases in which blood vessels are narrowed by intermittent blood vessel spasms, such as Raynaud's phenomenon and Raynaud's disease. The other type of peripheral artery disease is caused by narrowing of the arteries by atherosclerosis, a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries.

A steady supply of oxygen and nutrients are critical to the health of the cells and tissues of the body. Narrowing of the arteries that occurs in peripheral artery disease interferes with this supply. This is called ischemia. In ischemia, cells are unable to reproduce normally, recover effectively from injury, and fight infection. This can lead to the complications of peripheral artery disease, such as the development of sores or lesions that do not heal, and infection. If peripheral artery disease is left untreated, gangrene (death of the tissues) can occur.

When peripheral artery disease affect the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, it is called renal artery stenosis. Complications of renal stenosis include abnormal kidney function and kidney failure. Symptoms of peripheral artery disease vary depending on the underlying cause. Typical symptoms include pain in the legs with walking that goes away with rest and color changes in the fingers or toes. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of peripheral artery disease.

People at risk for peripheral artery disease include people with underlying diseases or behaviors that cause damage or narrowing of the blood vessels. These include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. People with peripheral artery disease are also more likely to develop atherosclerosis and narrowing of the arteries of the brain and heart due to fatty build-up in these arteries. This dramatically increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Making a diagnosis of peripheral artery disease includes completing a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination. If peripheral artery disease is suspected, diagnostic testing includes imaging tests, such as an ultrasound and angiogram. An angiogram reveals obstructed or narrowed arteries and can show blood flow. An angiogram may be performed on the renal arteries if renal artery stenosis is suspected. An angiogram is an invasive surgical procedure. Less invasive diagnostic options that might be done in some cases are magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or computed tomographic angiography (a type of CT scan).

A battery of other tests are also performed to test for other conditions that commonly underlie peripheral artery disease, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

It is possible that a diagnosis of peripheral artery disease can be missed or delayed because the symptoms may be mild, assumed to be normal, and similar to symptoms of other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of peripheral artery disease.

If caught early, peripheral artery disease can often be successfully treated before the development of complications. Treatment varies depending on the specific type of peripheral artery disease. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of peripheral artery disease. ...more »

Intermittent Claudication: Calf muscle pain from walking. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Intermittent Claudication is available below.

Intermittent Claudication: Symptoms

Symptoms of peripheral artery disease vary depending on the specific underlying cause. Symptoms can also differ between individuals. In all types of peripheral artery disease, symptoms and complications are due to narrowed arteries, which lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients to affected cells and tissue.

Typical symptoms of peripheral artery disease include pain ...more symptoms »

Intermittent Claudication: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for peripheral artery disease employs a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors and underlying causes of peripheral artery disease. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor and treat high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Treatment ...more treatments »

Intermittent Claudication: Misdiagnosis

Peripheral artery disease frequently goes undiagnosed until complications occur. In addition, symptoms of peripheral artery disease are similar to and often mistaken for symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as aging, excessive exercise, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, leg cramps, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Intermittent Claudication

Treatments for Intermittent Claudication

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Intermittent Claudication?

Intermittent Claudication: Related Patient Stories

Intermittent Claudication: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Intermittent Claudication.

Alternative Treatments for Intermittent Claudication

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Intermittent Claudication may include:

Causes of Intermittent Claudication

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Disease Topics Related To Intermittent Claudication

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Intermittent Claudication: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Intermittent Claudication

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Intermittent Claudication: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Latest Treatments for Intermittent Claudication

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Intermittent Claudication

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Intermittent Claudication: Animations

Research about Intermittent Claudication

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Clinical Trials for Intermittent Claudication

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

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Intermittent Claudication: Broader Related Topics

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Definitions of Intermittent Claudication:

Lameness due to pain in leg muscles because the blood supply is inadequate; pain subsides with rest - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

 

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