When there is a build-up of cholesterol and other fats, blood cells, and other cellular debris into abnormal structures (plaques) on the lining of an artery occur. Plaques cause a narrowing and stiffening of the artery, limiting the flow of blood. When this takes place, pain in the legs ensues known as claudication and is a major warning that your cholesterol levels are too high.
High cholesterol is extremely dangerous for one’s health as it clogs up the heart’s blood vessels causing an increased risk in heart attacks.
Having high cholesterol can also affect a person’s legs leading to peripheral arterial disease or PAD.
Health experts warn that after five years, 20 percent of people with PAD will have a nonfatal heart attack.
Peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site continued: “When you develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), your extremities — usually your legs — don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand.
“This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (claudication).
“Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis).
“This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.”
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An extremely common PAD symptom is claudication, a type of leg pain or discomfort.
Because the arteries are clogged, they can’t deliver enough blood to the legs to support exertion. Some people say their legs feel “heavy” or tired, or they report a burning pain, Dr. David Slovut says.
The pain can be in any part of the leg, from the calf to the thigh or buttock, and it may be in one or both legs.
What is claudication?
Claudication is pain caused by too little blood flow to muscles.
Most often this pain occurs in the legs after walking at a certain pace and for a certain amount of time — depending on the severity of the condition.
The condition is also called intermittent claudication because the pain usually isn’t constant.
Symptoms of claudication include the following:
- Pain, ache, discomfort or fatigue in muscles every time you use those muscles
- Pain in the calves, thighs, buttocks, hips or feet
- Less often, pain in shoulders, biceps and forearms
- Pain that gets better soon after resting
If you have noticed pain in your legs for no apparent reason, it is adviseable to speak with your GP to get your cholesterol levels checked.
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