Intermittent Claudication ("poor
by NSCG, Ltd.
Intermittent Claudication affects millions of Americans every year and is often the first symptom of peripheral vascular disease. It is an important disease to recognize because of its prevalence and the availability of many new nonsurgical treatment options. Although common, patients do not always report their symptoms, leaving the problem untreated. Furthermore, the presence of peripheral vascular disease in the legs may be a marker of similar disease in other organs, such as the heart and brain.
What is Intermittent Claudication?
Intermittent claudication is the primary symptom caused by underlying peripheral vascular disease ("hardening of the arteries" or atherosclerosis of the legs). It is usually described as a cramping, tightness or fatigue in the calves, thighs or buttocks, occurring primarily with walking, and relieved upon resting. Its onset is fairly predictable as it develops at the same distance traveled. With progression of the underlying disease, symptoms begin at shorter and shorter distances walked and ultimately, will even occur at rest.
Atherosclerosis has its onset very early in life with fat (especially cholesterol) being deposited beneath the inner lining (endothelium) of arteries. Over years to decades, as more fat is deposited, cracks form within and on the surface of these early