Health Guide
Drug Guide

Intermittent claudication

What is it?

Intermittent claudication (klaw-di-KA-shun) is pain of your hip or leg, especially while walking. This pain usually goes away with rest.

Causes:

Intermittent claudication is caused by poor circulation. There are many things that can affect your circulation. Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries from fatty deposits) is one of the most common causes of intermittent claudication. Smoking can worsen circulation and also worsen intermittent claudication symptoms. Some medicines can worsen circulation, including birth control pills. Smoking and using the birth control pill together will increase the chances of causing circulation problems.

Signs and Symptoms:

A pain or ache in your leg muscles after walking a certain distance is common with intermittent claudication. If only one extremity is involved, it will be cooler to the touch and have a different color than the extremity with good circulation. The pulses may be weak and hard to find in the affected extremity. Because of poor circulation, wounds take longer to heal. Infections are more common if you have intermittent claudication. If untreated, intermittent claudication can get worse and cause gangrene. If a clot forms, intermittent claudication can very quickly become an emergency.

Wellness Recommendations:

Medical Care:

Your caregiver will examine you and compare the blood pressure in the affected limb with that of the unaffected limb. A test called a NIVA (non invasive vascular angiogram) or an angiogram may be done to learn about the blockage. You may need medicine or surgery to treat intermittent claudication.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

Supplements:

References:

1. Aikens JE: Thermal biofeedback for claudication in diabetes: a literature review and case study. Altern Med Rev; 1999; 4(2):104-110.

2. Brevetti G, Chiariello M, Ferulano G et al: Increases in walking distance in patients with peripheral vascular disease treated with L-carnitine: a double-blind, cross-over study. Circulation 1988; 77(4):767-773.

3. Cahan MA, Montgomery P, Otis RB et al: The effect of cigarette smoking status on six-minute walk distance in patients with intermittent claudication. Angiology 1999; 50(7):537-546.

4. Hanson M, Bergentz SE, Ericsson BF et al: The oral glucose tolerance test in men under 55 years of age with intermittent claudication. Angiology 1987; 38(6):469-473.

5. O'Hara JO, Jolly PN & Nicol CG: The therapeutic efficacy of inositol nicotinate (Hexopal(R)) in intermittent claudication: a controlled trial. Br J Clin Pract 1988; 42(9):377-383.

6. Piesse JW: Vitamin E and peripheral vascular disease. Int Clin Nutr Rev 1984; 4(4):178-182.

7. Pittler M & Ernst E: Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of intermittent claudication: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med 2000; 108:276-281.

8. Sicuteri F, Fanciullacci M, Franchi G et al: Taurine as a therapeutic agent in vascular pain. Clin Med 1970; 77:21-32.

9. Signorelli SS, Di Pino L, Costa MP et al: Efficacy of L-propionyl-carnitine in the treatment of chronic critical limb ischemia. Clin Drug Invest 2001; 21(8):555-561.

10. Whyman MR & Ruckley CV: Should claudicants receive angioplasty or just exercise training? Cardiovasc Surg 1998; 6(3):226-231.


Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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