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Congestive Heart Failure Leg Cramps

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What Are The Symptoms Of Pad

How leg pain can actually be a sign of heart disease

The most common symptom of lower-extremity peripheral artery disease is painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising.

The pain of PAD often goes away when you stop exercising, although this may take a few minutes. Working muscles need more blood flow. Resting muscles can get by with less.

If blood flow is blocked due to plaque buildup, the muscles wont get enough blood during exercise to meet the needs. The cramping pain is the muscles way of warning the body that it isnt receiving enough blood during exercise to meet the increased demand.

Many people with PAD have no symptoms or mistake their symptoms for something else.

Leg Pain Can Mean Heart Danger Expert Says

David Dow thought he was having back problems, and that his legs were hurting as a result. As it turns out, that pain may have saved his life.

An otherwise healthy 57-year-old, he figured he just needed to learn some back-strengthening exercises, so he found a personal trainer to help him. But despite the workouts, his leg pain got worse making it hard for him even to walk from the car to the grocery store entrance. He and the trainer suspected something else was wrong and he sought the advice of his doctor.

Soon his doctors tests revealed the true cause: blockages in the blood vessels of his legs. In fact, the arteries going to his lower extremities were nearly 100 percent blocked. The cause? Years of heavy smoking and high-fat meals, and other factors had caused cholesterol, scar tissue and blood clots to build up inside his blood vessels.

Most people think this kind of clogged artery disease, or arteriosclerosis, only happens in the heart. But as Dows case shows, it can happen throughout the body. When it does, its called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

And in some people, PAD causes leg pain that acts as an early warning that someone is at high risk for a heart attack or a stroke, says a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center expert.

Symptom: Calf Torment During Movementconceivable Reason: Atherosclerosis

Fair skin, and injuries on your legs or feet that dont mend well-are indications of fringe vein infection, a blockage in the bloodstream to your legs.

The most probable reason is atherosclerosis, a hardening and restricting of the supply routes because of tacky cholesterol and fat stores called plaques.

Assuming your legs are experiencing deficient bloodstream, possible your heart is, as well.

Fringe corridor infection shares hazard factors with coronary illness specifically, smoking elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension.

It builds your danger of creating coronary illness and of having a respiratory failure or stroke later on.

To stay away from genuine entanglements, you really want to make changes to your way of life by losing abundance weight, getting more dynamic, eating a heart-sound eating regimen, and stopping smoking.

Your primary care physician might suggest blood thinners and vasodilators .

Indications: Pain, consuming, deadness, and shiveringConceivable reason: Diabetes

These sentiments in your legs or feet could be indications of diabetic neuropathy-nerve harm because of steadily high glucose.

High glucose harms not just the little veins that send oxygen and supplements to the nerves, yet, in addition, to the actual nerves, keeping them from conveying the right messages to your mind.

Try not to smoke, additionally, cut down on hypertension and cholesterol.

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Early Signs Of Edema And Swelling

Swelling or edema comes about when there is excess water in the tissues. Edema most commonly occurs in the arms and legs. Although it can occur in the abdomen. There are some early signs of edema that you should be aware of.

  • Arms or legs that suddenly start to feel heavy
  • When pressing on an arm or leg leaves a dent
  • When clothes and jewelry start to feel tight
  • Pain in surrounding joints

Edema related to circulation heart, or liver problems are serious, and these conditions need emergency treatment.

Exercised Legs Are Very Important For Chronic Heart Failure Patients

Congestive heart failure leg pain: The request could not be satisfied

Dont assume that legs dont matter just because theyre far from the heart.

Bad Legs = Bad Heart

A University of Leeds study shows that the degree of leg muscle dysfunction in people with chronic heart failure is directly related to symptom severity of the heart failure.

Its easy to cast leg muscle dysfunction off as a natural consequence stemming from the breathlessness and easy fatigue of chronic heart failure.

But the researchers discovered that there may also be an intrinsic impairment of the leg muscles in these patients.

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Leg Pain And Heart Disease: 5 Tips For Relief

Leg pain is a familiar and uncomfortable experience for many members of MyHeartDiseaseTeam. If youve dealt with different types of leg pain, youre not alone. MyHeartDiseaseTeam members have described leg pain as extremely bothersome and sometimes debilitating.

One member shared, I have experienced extreme crippling pain in my upper left thigh while sleeping at night. The pain was so severe and intense that I could not even stand up, much less walk.

Heres how others with heart disease manage leg pain, what the research says about possible causes, and ways to find relief.

For people with heart disease, leg pain may be related to poor blood flow, medication side effects, lifestyle factors, or other issues, like an injury.

Treat The Underlying Cause

If your leg pain is related to a specific health condition, your doctor can identify management options that are tailored to those conditions.

For peripheral artery disease, your doctor may recommend a supervised walking program to improve vascular health. They may also prescribe pain medication or other drugs to manage underlying factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In severe cases, you may need angioplasty or vascular surgery to transplant a healthy vessel in place of the narrowed artery.

DVT treatments include anticoagulants and compression stockings to prevent leg swelling. In more severe cases, thrombolytics are used to break up blockages, or a filter is placed in the vena cava to stop clots from reaching the lungs.

To improve circulation in people with chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease, researchers have tested enhanced external counterpulsation . The treatment involves applying pressure to blood vessels located in a persons lower limbs. Studies have shown EECP can reduce swelling and nighttime leg pain. Currently, EECP is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as outpatient therapy for chronic stable angina . Treatment is noninvasive and typically administered over seven weeks. EECP isnt appropriate for everyone, but your cardiologist can review your medical history to determine if youd be a good candidate.

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How Does Heart Disease Affect The Legs And Feet

Many people with PAD are unaware of their condition because they dont exhibit symptoms. However, PAD can contribute to the following disorders:

Intermittent Claudication. If you experience painful cramps when you walk or exercise, feel a tight, aching, or squeezing pain in the calf, thigh, or buttock, or experience numbness in the lower limbs it could be attributed to your leg muscles not getting enough blood. This pain is called intermittent claudication, and usually happens after you walking or exercising. The pain tends to dissipate when you stop walking, although as PAD becomes more severe, even when you arent walking pain in your toe or foot may exist. When it occurs as a person is sleeping, its called rest pain.

Venous Disease. Another possible condition is venous disease, especially if you have a history of spider or varicose veins. Unexplained pain, heaviness, or swelling in a leg, or visible see purple, twisted veins in your legs that are raised above the skin, may be an indication of venous disease. Varicose veins develop when valves in the veins that carry blood up toward your heart stop working properly. As a result, blood collects in the veins. The pressure of this pooled blood can push the veins above the surface of your skin.

Leg Problems And What Might Be Causing Them

Pathophysiology of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

The primary purpose of your legs is to keep you upright and mobile. Yet, your legs can also act as an indicator of your overall health. Although some symptoms you may experience are specific to a leg problem, others can suggest trouble with your heart, nervous system, kidneys, or other organs. Use the following symptom guide to help you decipher what broader problems your leg pain might suggest.

Symptom: Leg crampsPossible cause: Dehydration

A cramp in your leg after you’ve been working out, especially in the heat, could be an important sign that your body is low on fluids. To contract and relax normally, muscles rely on water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Too little fluid or electrolytes can hypersensitize the nerves that control muscles in the legs, causing themuscles to contract abnormally, or spasm.

All of your organs rely on fluids to function normally. Dehydration prevents cells from properly using energy, transporting nutrients, and dividing. If not quickly remedied, it can become a life-threatening condition. To avoid getting too low on fluids, drink water or an electrolyte-containing sports drink before, during, and after exercise.

Symptom: Calf pain during activityPossible cause: Atherosclerosis

Symptoms: Pain, burning, numbness, and tinglingPossible cause: Diabetes

Symptom: Leg swellingPossible causes: Heart, kidney, or liver disease

  • a blood clot in the leg

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Circulation And Leg Pain

Your legs are distant from your heart, yet when you walk, your legs, especially your calf muscles, need blood to work hard. If your legs hurt when you walk, it could be due to poor circulation.

Your age, lifestyle, and genetics all play a role in a substance called plaque building up in your arteries. Plaque both narrows your blood vessels and makes them less flexible, making it more difficult for your blood to flow to where its needed.

If you have plaque buildup in your blood vessels, you may feel pain in your calves when they need blood quickly. That pain is called claudication, and claudication is a symptom of peripheral artery disease, or PAD.

Some people describe claudication as an ache others say its excruciating. The variability in how people experience the pain of claudication can make it difficult to recognize.

What Causes Leg Cramps: Cardiac Risks With Leg Pain

There are many everyday reasons for leg cramps: dehydration, nerve compression, or just sleeping in the wrong position for too long. But some leg cramps may be a sign of a more serious condition. Read on to learn more about the cardiac risk factors tied to leg cramps, and what you can do to address them.

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Heart Disease Links To Leg & Foot Pain

Cardiovascular Disease is more than a disease of the heart. It can affect any part of your body that relies on nutrient-rich and oxygenated blood to function. When the problem is in the blood vessels that carry blood to any part of the body other than the heart, it is called Peripheral Vascular Disease or Peripheral Arterial Disease . A number of foot and leg ailments are associated with circulatory problems and blockages in the arteries of the legs or feet. Common symptoms include: cramps swelling of the ankle, foot or leg pain in the calf, toes or thighs numbness constantly cold feet and varicose or spider veins. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an evaluation with American Foot and Leg Specialists, with four convenient locations in Stockbridge, Atlanta, Fayetteville and Forest Park, Georgia.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Leg Cramps

Congestive Heart Failure : Carolina Heart and Leg Center

Experts cant promise that youll never have a leg cramp again, but there are some steps you can take that might reduce your risk!

  • Make sure that you stay hydrated drink six to eight glasses of water each day. Dont drink as much alcohol and caffeine.
  • Adjust how you sleep. Use pillows to keep your toes pointed upwards if you sleep on your back. If you lie on your front, try hanging your feet over the end of the bed. Both positions can keep you in a relaxed position.
  • Gently stretch your leg muscles before you go to sleep.
  • Keep blankets and sheets loose around your feet so that your toes are not distorted.
  • Wear shoes that fit you well and support your feet.
  • Perform frequent leg exercises.
  • Stretch your muscles before and after you exercise.
  • Experiment with mild exercise right before bed. Walk on the treadmill or ride a bicycle for a few minutes.

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How Are Leg Cramps Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will need to know your medical history, medications and a description of what youre experiencing. Be specific. Report your symptoms to your healthcare provider and include the following information:

  • When the leg cramps started happening.
  • What your pain feels like.
  • When the cramps happen .
  • How long the cramps last.
  • Any other symptoms youre experiencing.

Your healthcare provider will need to tell the difference between your leg cramps from other conditions that may resemble them:

To distinguish those differences, your healthcare provider may:

  • Check the palpation of pulses.
  • Evaluate physical sensations such as pinpricks.
  • Test deep tendon reflexes.
  • Test the strength of your leg.

When To Seek Medical Advice

If you only get leg cramps occasionally, it is not a cause for concern and a medical diagnosis is not required.

A visit to your GP will only be necessary if you get leg cramps frequently, or if they are so painful they disrupt your sleep and you are unable to function normally the next day.

You should also visit your GP if the muscles in your legs are shrinking or becoming weaker.

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What Does A Blocked Artery In Your Leg Feel Like

Claudication is the type of pain you feel when you walk. It can affect your buttocks, thighs, or calves.

Claudication happens because your PAD limits the blood flow through your blood vessels. As a result, your active muscles dont get the blood they need.

It may go away once you rest, but your disease progresses, claudication pain may also worsen.

  • pain, a burning sensation, or muscle weakness when you walk
  • hairless, shiny, and blotchy skin on your feet
  • the leg becomes red when you put it down but pale when you elevate it

Also, note that PAD and claudication may occur in places other than your legs. It could also occur around your arms and groin.

In some cases, impotence in men may be a symptom of claudication.

The cause of claudication is atherosclerosis. So by keeping your heart and circulatory system healthy, you may prevent claudication and other PAD symptoms.

Claudication may also be related to other life-threatening health conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.

What Makes Yale Medicines Approach To Treating Congestive Heart Failure Unique

What Is Congestive Heart Failure CHF: Everything You Need To Know

Yale Medicines multidisciplinary team comprises heart failure cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, dedicated advanced-practice, registered nurses and nurse coordinators, dietitians, exercise physiologists, financial counselors, immunologists specializing in transplants, psychologists, and specialists in palliative care.

With a multidisciplinary approach, Yale Medicine physicians include the patients desires as well as input from the family to develop a comprehensive treatment plan thats right for them.

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What Causes Leg Cramps

Some leg cramps happen for no known reason and they are called idiopathic cramps. Secondary leg cramps are a symptom or complication of a more serious health condition. The primary cause of idiopathic leg cramps is up for debate. Possible causes of them include:

  • Involuntary nerve discharges.

Others may include: Amoxicillin, bromocriptine , bupropion , celecoxib , cetirizine , chromium, cinacalcet , ciprofloxacin , citalopram , donepezil , eszopiclone , fluoxetine , IV iron sucrose, lansoprazole , levalbuterol, levothyroxine, metformin, niconitis acid, nifedipine, rivastigmine , sertraline , telmisartan , teriparatide and teriparatide raloxifene .

Using Clonidine To Improve Leg Weakness In People With Heart Failure

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
First Posted : March 10, 2009Results First Posted : September 9, 2013Last Update Posted : May 24, 2018
Condition or disease
Drug: Clonidine PatchOther: Matching Placebo Patch Phase 4

This study will enroll people with heart failure. Participants will be randomly assigned to wear either a clonidine patch or a placebo patch for 3 months. Participants will wear the patch on their upper arm, and they will replace the patch each week. At study visits at baseline and Month 3, participants will undergo the following procedures:

There will be no follow-up visits.

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Favorite Apps For Managing Edema

Health Storylines

This free app, produced in partnership with the Heart Failure Society of America, lets you track many important things related to edema, such as weight and symptoms like a feeling of fullness or swelling. If your weight shows a steep gain over a day or two, you get a prompt to call the doctor. Patient reviews say the medication tracker is limited to a set list, so before signing up, check to see if your drugs are listed.

HF Path

This free app from the American Heart Association lets you track vital information, such as medication schedule, symptoms, and weight. The app sends an alert if your log indicates edema serious enough to call the doctor. The app also has online courses on heart failure problems such as edema as well as the option for group chats with others who have heart failure.

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