Intermittent Claudication
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What is Intermittent Claudication?

Intermittent claudication is a disease that is not too common to us as a term. But if we go through the symptoms and the complications of this disease, then it wont seem to be so unfamiliar after all. The term intermittent claudication has been derived from the latin words “ claudicatio intermittens”. The Latin term claudicare means limping, It is so called as the patient starts limping once this disease attacks.

Clinically this is a type of muscular pain like normal cramping, ache, or numbness in the calf muscles that we all undergo at some point of time, especially during any exercise or a prolonged period of stress on the legs. But generally we do not consider it important to know the reason since a bit of rest relieves the pain.

This is most of the time caused by intermittent claudication in the blood vessels. This is a type of a peripheral arterial disease. Apart from this there are other complicated types of neurogenic intermittent claudications also that involves the spinal chords too.

The measure of intermittent claudication is the number of blocks it creates till it hampers normal walking capability of the patient. Artherosclerosis of the sever type is most commonly the cause of this disease. It is called intermittent claudication as the claudication or blockade appears intermittently. That is it does not continue for a long time, and vanishes with a little bit of rest. Then the patient is a as normal as before till the pain attacks again.

This disease attacks men more than the women, and especially after the age of 60 years.

Causes of Intermittent Claudication

The cause of intermittent claudication is generally attributed to peripheral arterial disease or PAD. This PAD is also termed as the PVD or the peripheral vascular disease.

In this disease the feet, arms, etc becomes hard and thus forms an obstruction in the blood flow.

This is because our muscles need oxygen whenever we move around. This oxygen is delivered by the circulation of blood. If enough blood does not pass through the arteries properly, muscles do get them and thus the patients experience pain in the muscles.

This pain diminishes, or even disappears totally with rest.

Symptoms of Intermittent Claudication

The primary symptom of intermittent claudication is limping, as the Latin meaning of the word suggests. The other symptoms of this disease are as follows:

Problem in standing or walking without a limp





Tightening of the muscles in leg and buttock


Extreme cold



Loss of hair

Low temperature

Low pulse rate

Major risks of Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent claudication is a disease that can be aggravated by a number of risk factors in the patient. Some of the major factors risking the lives of the individuals are:

High cholesterol



Reduction in the level of physical activities

Increase in the level of homosysteine

History of arterial disease in the family

Cholesterol plaques develop in the leg arteries of a number of patients suffering fom intermittent claudication. Intermittent claudication can also lead to fatal outcomes like heart attacks and stokes.

Treatment for Intermittent Claudication

Different treatments can be rendered to different patients, specially depending on the risk factors aggravating the disease. First and foremost the risk factor aggravating the intermittent claudication disease has to be erased out. The other methods of treatment are as follows:

Stopping to smoke for patients who are heavy smokers

Use of medicines for controlling hypertension, blood sugar, lipid profile, etc

Exercise to keep the physical abilities strong

Good diet prescribed by a good dietician

Surgery only when it is a severe case where ischemia is seen

Arterial bypass surgery

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors

Use of beta-blockers

Using the antiplatelet agents

Use of pentoxifylline and cilostazol

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