Treating Blocked Leg Arteries: When You Need A Procedure And When You Dont
The arteries in your legs and feet can get blocked, just like the arteries in your heart. When this happens, less blood flows to your legs. This is called peripheral artery disease .
Occasionally, if your leg arteries are badly blocked, you may develop foot pain while resting or a sore that wont heal. In this case, you need a procedure to remove the blockages. But usually, people with PAD do not need a procedure. Heres why:
A procedure only helps for severe symptoms.
If PAD causes severe leg pain when walking, you may stop doing that and other activities. Surgery to bypass the blockage can relieve these symptoms. So can another procedure known as angioplasty.
Most people do not have symptoms.
For most people, PAD does not cause symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms might get a heavy, tired feeling or cramping in the legs while walking that only goes away when they stop walking. Taking medicine, stopping smoking and walking more can actually reduce your symptoms and help keep PAD from getting worse.
Some health care providers mistakenly recommend having surgery or angioplasty even if you do not have symptoms, or have minimal symptoms. However, this does not make people with PAD feel better or prevent future leg problems. Most people with PAD never develop problems that need surgery or angioplasty. This is because they do not have severe symptoms or because medicine and exercise work well enough to treat the pain and allow a normal lifestyle.
How to manage PAD:
Is High Cholesterol Dangerous Risk Factors
High cholesterol is just one of several risk factors for coronary heart disease. A health-care professional will consider a person’s overall risk when assessing their cholesterol levels and discussing treatment options.
Risk factors are conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled however, some cannot be controlled.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Family history of early heart disease
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
High Cholesterol: Symptoms Include Leg Pain Or Numbness
It is easy to dismiss a build-up of cholesterol a waxy substance produced by the liver as not urgent. High cholesterol does not usually present symptoms so its easy to overlook its impact. However, consistently high cholesterol levels can cause a blockage in your arteries a complication called peripheral artery disease .
PAD can have potentially fatal consequences, hiking your risk of a heart attack and death.
The cholesterol complication can also put you at risk of needing a leg amputation and there are two telltale sensations to watch out for.
According to the University of California San Francisco , blocked blood flow to your legs can cause pain and numbness.
As the UCSF explains, this can be a precursor to gangrene .
READ MORE: High cholesterol symptoms: Two warning signs in your toes that show up when resting
In very serious cases, this can lead to leg amputation.
Other symptoms of PAD include:
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
- Sores on your toes, feet or legs that wont heal
- A change in the colour of your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
- Erectile dysfunction in men.
Also Check: Does Baked Potato Have Cholesterol
You May Notice The Pain As Spasms Or Cramps In Your Feet At Night
Doctors say that PAD can also exhibit itself during the daytime as a heavy or “burning” pain anywhere in the leg from the buttock to the calf while walking. But when symptoms present themselves at night, they can often show as spasms or cramps in the toes, forefoot, or heel, Darren Schneider, MD, director of the Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at New YorkPresbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, tells Healthline.
Schneider says that these painful episodes can usually be relieved by dangling your foot off the side of the bed or moving to a chair so that gravity can help blood flow to the feet properly. Still, experiencing these feelings at night should be a sign to call your doctor to schedule an appointment.
It Causes Plaque In The Arteries Restricting Blood Flow
Cholesterol has no symptoms, says Robert Greenfield, M.D., a triple board-certified cardiologist, lipidologist, and internist at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA.
As such, he says, high cholesterol alone cannot be the cause of your tingling. But the long-term consequences of high cholesterolwhich could contribute to arterial diseasemay result in these symptoms, he says.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, high cholesterol causes atherosclerosisa build-up in the walls of the arteries which causes them to narrow. Atherosclerosis can lead to coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease, among other issuesall of which can in turn present in some form of tingling or numbness.
Dr. Greenfield explains that as the plaque grows, it can inevitably cause a clot to form, which blocks blood flow in the artery. If it’s in the leg arteries, it produces leg pain especially with walking , says Dr. Greenfield, who says smokers are often at higher risk of claudication. Intermittent claudication can result in numbness and weakness in the legs, according to Cleveland Clinic.
If the plaque is in a coronary artery, it can cause a heart attack, he says. And if it’s in a carotid artery or one of its branches going to the brain, it’s a stroke. In either case, it can result in sudden numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, according to Mayo Clinic.
You May Like: Mussels Cholesterol Good Or Bad
Causes Of Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD is a form of cardiovascular disease because it affects the blood vessels.
It’s usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the leg arteries. The fatty deposits are made up of cholesterol and other waste substances.
The build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries makes the arteries narrower and restricts blood flow to the legs. This process is called atherosclerosis.
There are certain things that can increase your chances of developing PAD and other forms of CVD, including:
- smoking the most significant risk factor
With treatment, most people’s symptoms remain stable and some people may experience an improvement in their pain.
If treatment is unsuccessful, there’s a risk of potentially serious complications.
Read about treating PAD.
What Are The Symptoms Of Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD can build up over a lifetime, and the symptoms may not become obvious until later in life. For many people, the outward symptoms will not appear until the artery has narrowed by 60 percent or more.
The first noticeable symptom of PAD may be intermittent claudication — leg discomfort, pain or cramping that develops with activity, is relieved with rest, and recurs upon resuming activity. The pain is often noticed in the calf, but may also be felt in the buttocks or thighs. Intermittent claudication symptoms may also include numbness, weakness, heaviness or fatigue in the leg muscles when walking that are relieved at rest. The pain can be severe enough to interfere with normal walking. This type of cyclical pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the leg muscles and goes away at rest because the muscles require less blood flow at rest.Other symptoms of advanced PAD may include:
- A burning or aching pain in the feet and toes while resting, especially at night while lying flat
- Cool skin in the feet
- Redness or other color changes of the skin
- Increased occurrence of infection
- Toe and foot sores that do not heal
Many people with PAD do not have any symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Are Crab Legs High In Cholesterol
How Is Pad Treated
Lifestyle changes, medications and interventional procedures are the treatments available for PAD.
Lifestyle Changes. Initial treatment of PAD includes making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk factors. Changes you can make to manage your condition include:
- Quit smoking. Ask your doctor about smoking cessation programs available in your community.
- Eat a balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. Limit fat to 30 percent of your total daily calories. Saturated fat should account for no more than 7 percent of your total calories. Avoid trans fats including products made with partially-hydrogenated and hydrogenated vegetable oils. If you are overweight, losing weight will help you lower your total cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. A registered dietitian can help you make the right dietary changes.
- Exercise. Begin a regular exercise program, such as walking. Walking is very important and can aid the treatment of PAD. Patients who walk regularly can expect a marked improvement in the distance they are able to walk before experiencing leg pain.
- Manage other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
- Practice good foot and skin care to prevent infection and reduce the risk of complications.
Medications may be recommended to treat conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol .
High Cholesterol Signs: People Who Have Increased Cholesterol In Their Body Such Symptoms Are Seen In Their Feet
Bad lifestyle habits give rise to many health concerns. One of these is high cholesterol. Although the cholesterol level increases, then the risk of diseases like heart attack, heart failure is high, but do you know that the increased cholesterol gets deposited in the arteries of your feet, which causes many problems. You do not see its symptoms very quickly, but they are felt when the cholesterol level increases more than necessary. Experts say that having high cholesterol blocks the arteries. This can lead to a heart attack. This happens when heart cells are deprived of the necessary oxygen. So today we are going to tell you about the cholesterol deposited in the feet and its symptoms. Cholesterol causes heart attack and stroke.
According to experts, cholesterol is a lipid, which our body needs to function properly. It is a fat-like substance, which keeps circulating in the body through the blood arteries. Due to not being soluble in water, cholesterol is carried to different parts of the body through a particle called lipoprotein, which has a type of protein on its surface.
When cholesterol combines with high fat and low protein lipoproteins to form LDL, it is harmful to the body. This problem usually arises when your diet is rich in unhealthy fatty foods. LDL ie lipoprotein begins to build up in the arteries, which over time causes heart attack and stroke.
What are the symptoms of High Cholesterol in the Feet?
Changes in skin and nail color
You May Like: Is Tuna Fish High In Cholesterol
How Can I Avoid Leg Cramps When Taking Cholesterol Medicine
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your physician might have prescribed a statin drug to lower your cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, one of the common side effects of statins is leg and muscle cramps. While these should be mild, some patients can experience severe of painful cramps. If you experience leg cramping with your statin medication, consult with your physician to evaluate the benefits of taking the medication versus the side effects you are experiencing. If your cramps are severe, your physician might discontinue the statin prescribed, but there are some ways to help alleviate the cramping and pain.
Video of the Day
Should I Stop Taking Statins If I Have Leg Pain
Many patients have heard of a possible connection between statins and leg pain. So, if they start a statin and suffer any kind of pain, they may want to stop the medication. On the one hand, that may be the safest approach. If muscle symptoms are building up, avoiding more severe symptoms is logical.
On the other hand, when symptoms are more mild, stopping the medication may not be the safest thing to do. First of all, it turns out that people who do not know of the possibility of pain, actually report less pain. This is an example of a nocebo effect. Also, long-term benefit of statins are very high for certain people. For example, in patients with peripheral artery disease. Stopping to take them, and neglecting to treat elevated cholesterol could have serious long-term effects. Finally, a certain percentage of patients in clinical trials who took placebo also developed muscle pains. This really muddies the waters, I think.
Another important point to make is that muscle pains with statins might be a sign of another medical condition. For example, hypothyroidism. This is why it is important to work with your physician to try and identify the cause of your symptoms.
Read Also: Does Canned Tuna Have Cholesterol
Preventing Peripheral Arterial Disease
The advice for preventing PAD, or stopping it before it gets serious, is largely the same as the advice for preventing a heart attack or stroke: Quit smoking, eat healthier, get more exercise, control your blood sugar if you have diabetes, lose weight, and get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. And ask your doctor if you should take a daily aspirin to prevent clots, or drugs to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Even though PAD makes peoples legs hurt or feel tired when they walk or exercise a symptom that doctors call claudication which feels like a Charlie horse type cramp one of the best things to do is to walk more, says Stanley.
The more a patient walks, the more likely it is that they will develop little detour blood vessels, called collateral vessels, around the obstruction, he explains. The large majority of people can develop these vessels that will ease the pain.
But in some people, PAD has already gotten bad enough to cause pain or numbness even when the person is sleeping something called rest pain. Stanley says this pain often awakens patients from sleep. It most often occurs in the ball of the feet and may feel like someone has wrapped a bandage around the foot. This level of symptoms is ominous, he says, because it indicates a more severe blockage without adequate collateral vessels.
Pad Warning Signs To Watch For
Recommended Reading: Bananas Lower Cholesterol
/6signs Of The High Cholesterol In Legs
Unhealthy lifestyle habits open a wide door to multiple health concerns. One of them is high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is produced by the liver for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and balancing hormones. Being insoluble in water, cholesterol is transported to different parts of the body through a particle called lipoprotein, which has a specific protein on its surface. Only when cholesterol combines with the high fat and low protein content lipoprotein to form Low-density lipoproteins then it be harmful to the body. This problem arises when your diet is rich in unhealthy fatty foods and on top of that, you live a sedentary life. The LDL starts building in the arteries, blocking and narrowing them, which over time can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Other Links Between Cholesterol Andnumbness
If high cholesterol persists for a long period of time, it can contribute to tingling and numbness in the limbs in other ways, as well, notes the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Over time, high cholesterol leads to plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and other materials, accumulating in your blood vessel walls. These narrow areas and blockages can prevent oxygen-rich blood from reaching the arms and feet, and tingling and numbness are the result.
As these blockages worsen, they are eventually classified as peripheral arterial disease . Other signs and symptoms of the disease include leg pain and cramping, sores on the legs or feet that won’t heal, cold legs or feet or a change in color in the legs, feet or toenails.
“If you have these symptoms, they need to be evaluated by a physician to determine the cause and if it’s related to narrowed or blocked arteries,” says Khurram Nasir, MD, director of the Preventive Cardiology Clinic at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “Cholesterol-lowering medications have been established to reduce the risk of having a heart attack and stroke in these patients.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, one final thing worth noting about cholesterol and numbness and tingling is that a common cholesterol-lowering medication, Liptruzet , can cause these symptoms as potential side effects.
Don’t Miss: How Much Cholesterol In Crab