HealthDiseases and Conditions

Intermittent claudication, its causes, diagnosis and treatment

Intermittent claudication is a medical term used to refer to the sharp pain that occurs when a patient is walking. And these pains are so intense that, as a rule, they provoke the patient to stop. At rest, the pain gradually subsides. However, in especially neglected cases, the patient may experience discomfort during rest.

Contrary to popular belief, moving limp is not an independent disease at all, but a symptom that accompanies certain vascular diseases of the lower extremities.

Thus, intermittent claudication is one of the symptoms of such diseases as obliterating endarteritis and atherosclerosis. Both these diseases are characterized by narrowing or closing the lumen of the arteries due to the pathological process that takes place on the walls of the vessels. These diseases pose a great danger for the patient, and the worst thing is that they almost never can be detected in the early stages, since all serious, alarming symptoms appear in the late stages.

It is because of the difficulty of identifying these diseases, it is important to be able to recognize intermittent claudication at the earliest stages. First of all, you should know that it is most likely to develop in men over the age of 30. In women, it also occurs, but less often and sooner in old age. However, smokers have the same risk of getting sick, regardless of sex. Also, there is a high probability of lameness development in people suffering from obesity, diabetes mellitus and various disorders of lipid metabolism.

So, the main signs of intermittent claudication: rapid fatigue, pain (more often - in calves, less often - in the thighs and buttocks) with walking, when lifting up the limb pales, when lowering down there is congestive hyperemia. In particularly severe cases, ulcers and gangrene can occur below the affected artery. In addition, the affected leg can change the nails, drop hair and atrophy muscles. It is also possible to feel cold in the affected limb, its numbness, impaired mobility.

In the presence of any of the above symptoms, laboratory tests are conducted, according to which the diagnosis is confirmed or refuted. The list of studies conducted in the laboratory includes measuring the time of bleeding, checking the level of cholesterol and plasma glucose.

There are four stages of intermittent claudication. On the first pain sensations there is no - the only symptom is weakness or total absence of pulse on the affected limb. In the second stage, the onset of pain during exercise. At the third stage of the patient, the pains are also excruciated in a state of rest, and on the fourth painful sensations reach the peak of its intensity and necrosis of tissues begins on the feet and fingers.

If the patient is diagnosed with intermittent claudication, treatment should be started immediately. After all, because of a decrease in the flow of blood with oxygen to the limbs, the necrosis of tissues may result, entailing amputation of the affected limb.

The treatment of intermittent claudication is quite complicated and requires the patient's active actions. Physicians can be prescribed medication (antispasmodics, painkillers, vitamins), physiotherapy, in severe cases, surgical intervention can be performed. All these procedures will certainly bring relief, but without the work on the patient himself, the process can be reversed.

During treatment (and after it) the patient must quit smoking, follow the integrity of the skin of the legs and maintain a diet that helps maintain the right level of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. Only if these conditions are met, intermittent claudication can be cured completely.

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