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Problems with the blood vessels in the rest of your body

Rather than a specific heart problem, you may have circulation problems with the blood vessels throughout your body.

You may feel aches, pains, cramps, numbness or muscle fatigue during exercise. These feelings may be caused by:

  • arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries. The artery walls become less elastic (flexible) so the blood cannot flow as well as it should through these vessels.
  • atherosclerosis, or peripheral artery disease (PAD), in your arm or leg blood vessels. These terms all mean that plaque is collecting on the insides of the walls of your blood vessels. The walls thicken and less blood moves through your blood vessels. It is most common for this to occur in the blood vessels of the legs.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts