What Tests are Conducted to Diagnose Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication is left undetected in many cases as people take the pains as normal body pains. People are not much aware of claudication or intermittent claudication and instead start believing it to pain aroused from aging or other physical activity. A medical diagnosis is required to detect the exact condition of blood flow in the body.

Diagnosis Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

The tests for claudication or intermittent claudication are:

  • Testing the pulse condition in the feet.
  • Comparison of level of blood pressure in the limbs and other body parts known as ankle-brachial index.
  • Doppler ultrasound to regulate and monitor the flow of blood the limbs.
  • MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging and CT Computerized Tomography, angiography to check the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels.

Talk to the doctor about your previous medical records and family medical history while consulting for pain complaints. Muscle or joint pains or pains in the spine may the clear indications of claudication which can only be detected after proper medical diagnosis.

What is the Treatment for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication and peripheral artery disease should be treated immediately to prevent it to get worse. Immediate treatment helps in reducing the symptoms. A healthy lifestyle can do further changes in the condition. Smoking, drinking and other abnormal food habits should be abandoned during the period of treating claudication.

Other treatments prescribed by the doctor for claudication or intermittent claudication in case the changes made in the lifestyle are not adequate:

Medications for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

Doctors usually prescribe aspirin to decrease the scopes of blood clots in the body. Other drugs are also there to prevent blood to clot in the blood vessels for claudication or intermittent claudication. These are clopidogrel (Plavix), ticlopidine and dipyridamole (Persantine). Cilostazol (Pletal) helps in improving the flow of blood in the body. People who are not able to consume cilostazol are usually recommended to try pentoxifylline (Trental). A cholesterol-lowering drug (statin) may also be prescribed to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is one of the most dangerous accumulations in the blood vessels.

Angioplasty for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

In serious conditions of claudication or intermittent claudication and peripheral artery disease, angioplasty is prescribed by the doctor. In this process the blood vessels are recovered and flow of blood is ensured. The inflatable balloon in the angioplasty device improves the blood circulation. A small metal or plastic mesh tube (stent) is used to widen the arteries.

Vascular Surgery for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

In case of more serious claudication or intermittent claudication, where angioplasty or other medications do not work, doctors go for a vascular surgery. Healthy blood vessels from other parts of the body are replaced in the affected portions in this surgery. Thus the normal flow of blood in the blood vessels is ensured.

Doctors may however many times suggest a blend of medical treatment like medications and angioplasty.

Alternative or Other Recovery Treatments for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

Though there are no proper alternate treatments introduced for the treatment of claudication or intermittent claudication, but certain therapies are helpful in preventing the symptoms. A proper blend of these therapies is useful in getting some relief from the extreme pain of claudication.

  • Ginkgo and Propionyl-L-carnitine have been useful to people suffering from claudication.
  • L-arginine has also been helpful to a large extent to get relief from the symptoms of claudication.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E has to be consumed in abundance during the period of treatment for quicker results.

What Lifestyle Changes are Suggested for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

The plaques that have damaged your arteries are often the result of unhealthy lifestyle habits. So a key part of treatment is stopping any unhealthy habits and adopting healthy ones.

The plaques generally accumulate in the artery due to abnormal lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is an alternate to survive from the claudication or peripheral artery disease. The following changes in the lifestyle however may bring some good results:

  • Quit both active and passive smoking to stay healthy. Continuous smoking increases the chance of plaque accumulation in the blood vessels of the heart.
  • Regular exercise is very necessary to supply oxygen in all parts of the body. The claudication pain mostly happens as a result of limited flow of blood in the blood vessels of legs. This problem may be controlled by regular exercise.
  • Check the level of cholesterol in your body regularly. Maintain the safe level of cholesterol to avoid accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels. Cholesterol is one of the most severe plaques in the blood vessels. A balanced healthy diet and a regular exercise can be helpful in controlling the level of cholesterol in the body.
  • Pseudoephedrine contained drugs causes accumulation of plaques in the blood vessels. Do not take any such medicine without consulting the doctor. Avoid taking such drugs by you even if they are sold without a doctor's prescription.
  • Take care of your limbs in your movements. Any injury in the limbs may affect the normal flow of blood in to the blood vessels. Thus the oxygen supply is largely hampered.
  • Choose nicely protective shoes if you are participating in such task which involves any such chances of injury.
  • Keeping the legs below the heart increases the blood circulation of the feet. Raise your head with extra pillows while sleeping to ensure proper flow of blood in the legs.

How to Prevent Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

A healthy lifestyle can prevent occurrence of claudication or intermittent claudication in any person. The following measures can be taken to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • If the sufferer is a smoker, he should quit it as soon as possible.
  • Fluctuation in blood pressure should be regularized.
  • The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has to be decreased as per doctor's advice.
  • Triglycerides or fats present in the blood should be lowered.
  • High-density lipoproteins or HDL has to be increased as per doctor's advice.
  • The normal weight of the body has to be maintained.
  • Physical activity like walking, exercising, and running should be included in the daily routine.
  • The blood sugar or glucose level has to be checked and controlled.

How to Cope With Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication is no doubt a matter of serious concern in any person. As the blood vessels tend to get narrow, the sufferer has to bring him under serious medical control to save him from the tremendous pain.

Find support in people who have faced it. Remember this is a totally controllable disease and a proper treatment can easily recover you from the situation. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to survive from the syndrome quickly.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: December 7, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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