Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent ClaudicationWhat is Intermittent Claudication?

Intermittent claudication is a condition resulting from the blockage that occurs in the main artery that takes the blood to the legs.


When this happens, one always feels pain in the leg muscles. It is usually the calf muscles that gets affected the most.


What Causes Intermittent Claudication?

The main cause of intermittent claudication is the blockage of arteries, which is also brought about by the hardening of the arteries. This may be the main cause, but there are risk factors that bring about this condition. Some of them are the following:

  • Smoking. Studies have shown that those who smoke are more prone to suffer from intermittent claudication. If you have noticed, smoking is also one of the don’ts in relation to heart problems.
  • Cholesterol buildup. This is another one of the things that cause intermittent claudication since this also blocks the passage of blood in the arteries too.
  • Calcium buildup. Aside from cholesterol buildup, this is another instance wherein the flow of blood in the arteries is blocked.
  • Diabetes. This ailment is also known to hasten the occurrence of intermittent claudication.


Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Intermittent Claudication

Here are some of the things that you have to watch out for if you suspect intermittent claudication:

  • Pain. This is the most common thing that you would be experiencing if you are suffering from claudication is pain. It is felt in the calves and often occurs whenever you are taking exercises like walking or jogging. What you feel is often likened to the discomfort associated with cramps. Initially, patients could still walk, but the pain worsens after some time, causing the patient to limp. Walking uphill, barefoot, or any other situation that requires the legs to exert more effort could worsen the pain.


Remedies Treatment and Cure for Intermittent Claudication

Since the main cause of intermittent claudication is the blockage of the arteries, it is therefore imperative that this condition is resolved. A proper diet, one which would not add to the existing cholesterol and calcium buildup in the arteries is a must, along with other lifestyle changes.


Helpful Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Quit smoking. As much as possible try to quit smoking. If you can’t, simply avoid it. This is one of the things that could lead to artery-blockage and therefore have to be avoided. Remember that smokers are the most common sufferers of intermittent claudication. Therefore, this habit must be eliminated from your system.
  • Do gentle exercises. This could help tremendously and could even lower down your risk for developing intermittent claudication. If exercise is not included in your daily or weekly routine and are planning to start a programme after years of living a sedentary lifestyle, make sure that you see your physician first, so that you will know what exercises would be good for you.
  • Chelation therapy. This should be done by a private doctor since the process involves administering an intravenous drip that could help clear the arteries over time.
  • Reflexology and acupuncture. These could help in reducing the pain associated with intermittent claudication. These also improve circulation of the blood.


Diet for Intermittent Claudication

  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and cholesterol. Some of the foods you must abstain from are margarines, red meat, plenty of butter, chicken skin, sausages, mass-produced pies, cakes and many others.
  • Make sure that you avoid eating any fried food. Whether you think that food is healthy or not, as long as it is fried, avoid it.
  • Cut down your alcohol intake. If you can, take in only 2 units a day. If you could further lessen it down, better.
  • Microwaved coffee or percolated one could elevate cholesterol levels, eventually leading to intermittent claudication. These have to be avoided too.
  • Go for foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as oily fish. This element could help in thinning the blood, avoiding blockage.
  • Onions and garlic have to be taken liberally. If used on dishes, use a lot of them. These spices help in lowering bad cholesterol in the body, therefore reducing the risk of arterial blockage, eventually preventing intermittent claudication.
  • Eat foods that are rich in insoluble fibres. Good sources of these foods are nuts, seeds, oats, rice bran, linseeds, fruits, veggies and psyllium husks.
  • Poached, scrambled or boiled eggs are good. Fried eggs have to be avoided.
  • When cooking, replace butter with olive oil, which has the property to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Don’t forget to take in 8 glasses of water every day.


Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs for Intermittent Claudication 

  • Vitamin E (400-600iu daily). This vitamin helps in thinning the blood and reduces the development of a heart disease. It also enables you to walk for long distances and decreases the sense of discomfort brought about by intermittent claudication. It is best to talk to your general practitioner before taking this vitamin as therapy.
  • Vitamin B3 Inositol Hexaniacinate (2g a day for three months). Taking this vitamin for at least 3 months could help in lowering the cholesterol levels in the blood. It is very effective in treating intermittent claudication. It is best to ask for a no-flush type of Vitamin B3 since this could trigger skin flushing since it increases blood circulation.
  • Gingko biloba (900mg daily). This helps in decreasing pain and also increases the walking distance of those suffering from claudication.
  • L-carnitine (2g twice daily). This could also help in reducing pain and can incrase the distance that one could walk. Only thing that makes people shy away from this amino acid is its price. L-carnitine is quite expensive but has been considered effective in treating claudication.
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