Can Leg Pain Be A Sign Of Heart Problems & What Are The Symptoms Of A Blocked Artery In Your Legs?

Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease.(1)

Blocked or Clogged arteries lead to the formation of plaque on the artery inner walls. Arterial plaque reduces the flow of blood and in some cases, blocks it completely.

Blocked arteries thus increase your chance to suffer from stroke, heart attack, and death.(2)

Many doctors also refer to blocked arteries as atherosclerosis and it is the prime condition to cause coronary heart problems and related circulatory diseases. This is because; plaques restrict the flow of blood to heart muscles by physically blocking the artery or by abnormal artery function or tone.(3)

Without enough supply of blood, the heart starves of the oxygen and other related essential nutrients, which it requires to work properly. This causes chest pain referred to as angina. If blood supply cuts off from a specific area of heart muscles completely or the energy demands of the heart exceed its supply of blood, a person suffers from a heart attack.(4)

Can Leg Pain Be A Sign Of Heart Problems?

Yes, leg pain in some cases indicates the risk related to the development of heart problems. One such heart disease is peripheral artery disease. This takes place because of the narrowing of peripheral arteries present in your legs and leads to the formation of fatty deposits.

According to the latest research studies, people suffering from peripheral artery disease with symptoms of leg pain have a relatively higher lifetime risk to die from a cardiovascular problem. Along with this, muscle cramps and mild to severe pain in calves, hips, or thighs at the time of walking, exercising, and climbing stairs are common symptoms of peripheral artery disease.(5)

What Are The Symptoms Of A Blocked Artery In Your Legs?

Blocked artery in the legs indicates the problem of peripheral artery disease. Accordingly, many people suffering from the condition do not have or hardly have any symptoms. However, others experience leg pain at the time of walking, which refers to claudication.

Cramping or muscle pain in the legs indicates the problem of claudication and it triggers certain activities, like walking and disappears after the person rests for a while. The exact location of cramp or pain depends on the specific location of the narrowed or clogged artery. However, pain in calves is a common location. The claudication severity varies widely starting from mild discomfort to severe type of pain.

Other than this, a blocked artery in the legs i.e. peripheral artery disease has following major signs and symptoms.

  • Painful cramp in any one or both of the calf muscles, thighs and hips after climbing stairs, walking or any other similar type of activity
  • Sores on the toes, legs or feet, which never heal
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs
  • Change in your legs color
  • Coldness in the foot or lower leg, especially while you compare with your other leg/foot
  • The slow growth of hair or hair loss on the legs and feet
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • The slow growth of the toenails
  • Weak pulse or no pulse in the feet or legs
  • Erectile dysfunction problem in men

With the progress of peripheral artery disease, pain also takes place while you take rest or while you lie down i.e. ischemic rest pain. In this situation, the pain becomes intensive that it disrupts your sleep. On the other side, you get temporary relief to your pain by hanging the legs on the edge of the bed or walking across the room.(6)

Conclusion

Yes, leg pain sometimes indicates the problem of heart disease i.e. peripheral artery disease. Moreover, blocked arteries in legs imply peripheral artery disease and hence, it has similar symptoms, as you experience when you have PAD in legs or feet.

References:

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