What is intermittent claudication?

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Intermittent claudication is pain or cramping in the muscle's of the legs after walking that is relieved with rest. This is a symptom of peripheral vascular disease (PAD)  that usually involves an artery or arteries of the legs. The femoral and popliteal arteries are commonly affected. Arteriosclerotic disease of the legs predisposes one to PAD.

In men that have PAD, hair growth on the legs may be absent, the skin may look shiny, and the peripheral pulses may be diminished or absent. PAD increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Treatment for PAD in minor cases is daily exercise to the legs ( after checking with your doctor) , some people benefit from anticoagulant medication. The exercise increases circulation and decreases pain. In more severe cases, surgery to bypass the diseased blood vessel may be required.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Intermittent claudication is rather a symptom than a disease. It consists in cramps, weakness and tension in the foot, especially in legs, after muscular exercises. When symptoms appear, they are quickly removed by resting.

Intermittent claudication is often associated with atherosclerosis, Buerger's disease and other occlusive arterial diseases.

People who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day are prone intermittent claudication, nine times more than nonsmokers.
A regular program of exercises can be beneficial, especially for those who practice them daily. Exercise should be done at least once a day, with ten repetitions for each exercise. Most of the patients feel better after six weeks of exercises. As a supplement to these exercises, the patient should do a daily walk.

Some researchers believe that an abnormally high blood viscosity may be the cause of poor blood circulation. To reduce viscosity, patients should have a diet low in fats, sugars and food concentrates. Since stress increases the blood viscosity, the patients have to try to reduce the stress, as much as possible.