Treatment for Claudication

Mosquito Bites         Claudication refers walking impairment or tiredness or discomfort in the legs while walking. When there is diminutive blood reaching the legs during exercise, claudication occurs.It is often a sensation in the calves, however, it also affects the arms, hips, buttocks, thighs and feet. It may onset after walking a short duration or during a long walk causing pain even while at rest. Pain level is classified from mild to extremely severe. To relieve claudication, rest is usually required. Claudication is often considered a symptom of a peripheral artery disease. Although it is possibly serious, it can be cured.

Three types of claudication

These three types of claudication do not necessarily differ in cause, however, they vary in affected areas and onset. Although there are three types of claudication, only the intermittent claudication will be focused on.

  • Intermittent claudication
    • Recurrent pain, tension and weakness on the leg muscles due to insufficient blood supply to the area
    • Often observed in occlusive arterial disease
  • Jaw claudication
    • Similar symptoms as that of intermittent claudication nonetheless observed in the muscles of the jaws or those associated with chewing
    • Pain in the ear or jaw
    • Due to inadequate supply of blood to this area
    • Linked with giant cell arteritis
  • Neurogenic or spinal claudication
    • Recurrent pain in the back, among other areas due to nerve root compression (stenosis) of the spinal canal
    • Due to poor posture of ischemia of the cauda equine (bundle of spinal nerves and spinal roots)

Causes of claudication

  • Peripheral artery disease caused by atherosclerosis
    • Hardening of arteries cause by buildup of fat, cholesterol and other materials plaques
    • Decreased blood flow to leg muscles, thus decreased oxygen flow

Signs and symptoms of claudication

The intensity of the signs and symptoms and location of pain are dependent on severity of the atherosclerosis, plaque location and muscle activity. However, mentioned below are the common symptoms associated with claudication:

  • Dull or sharp pain when exercising, which are typically intermittent
  • Aching, throbbing or burning cramping in the legs
  • Pain even when at rest
  • Discolored skin or ulcerations (cyanosis in gingers or toes)
  • If plaque formation occurs in
    • Thigh: cramps in the thigh
    • Aorta: pain in the buttocks, groin or erectile dysfunction
  • Weakness

Treatment for claudication

There are two ways to treat claudication, medication and surgical treatment.

  • Medication
    • Prescribed by the doctor
    • Common medications include Pentoxifylline (Trental) or Cilostazol (Pletal)
    • To minimize chances of blood clots
  • Surgical: revascularization for patients who not react to medications
    • Angioplasty: a balloon of sort is inserted in the blocked artery and inflated to increase diameter of artery, hence increase blood flow
    • Stent: makes use of wire mesh to keep open the blood vessel after angioplasty and averts scar tissue from narrowing the blood vessel

Although not much help can be offered to a patient of claudication, they may be

encouraged to start living healthy lifestyles. Smokers can begin by ceasing to smoke cigarettes. Exercise is always good for anyone. Having an overall understanding of symptoms of diseases of the cardiovascular system such as claudication can help when taking first aid training. These symptoms, if not treated, may lead to heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, workplace approved programs offer CPR classes as well, in times that no pulse is detected, such as in complications brought about by claudication.

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