Calf pain can be typical symptoms of arteriosclerosis
Certain forms of leg pain may indicate an imminent heart attack. In particular, calf pain that occurs while walking or running and then subsides when you stop may indicate arteriosclerosis. According to the German Heart Foundation, this also applies to pain that occurs when patients lie down and feel pain in the region of the toes that subsides as soon as they get up again.
“Both symptoms can be a typical indication of arteriosclerosis,” said the foundation. Arteriosclerosis leads to deposits in various parts of the body, which in turn lead to circulatory disorders, according to Prof. Dr. Eike Sebastian Debus of the Clinic for Vascular Medicine at the University Heart Centre Hamburg in the current issue of the Heart Foundation’s newsletter.
Other leg sections can also be affected
“Even though the most common pain from arteriosclerosis in the legs is in the calves, other parts of the legs may also be affected. Depending on where the vascular deposits block the blood flow, there may also be problems in the thighs or buttocks, which should also lead to a visit to the doctor,” explains the physician.
Since the pain in the legs in arteriosclerosis usually only occurs later in the course of the disease, there is often already a significant calcification of the coronary vessels at this point. This can lead to an acute and life-threatening heart attack.
Patients affected by the calf pain and/or leg pain described above should insist that not only the legs but also the heart functions are regularly examined when consulting a doctor. Adequate examinations are an ECG, heart ultrasound, exercise ECG and, if necessary, a minimally invasive cardiac catheter examination, the costs of which are also covered by statutory health insurance. Ultimately, the doctor decides which diagnostic means have to be used.
Taking complaints seriously
According to the vascular physician, those affected should definitely take the symptoms seriously. The risk of a heart attack is very high. According to some statistical surveys, 75 percent of those affected later succumb to a heart attack. The statistics show that the risk for this type of complaint is significantly higher than the national average.
This is how arteriosclerosis can be prevented
Various effective measures can be taken to protect against arteriosclerosis. The best option is active exercise. For example, endurance sports can “typically significantly slow down” the development of arteriosclerosis.
Smoking should also be stopped. Studies have shown that already 24 months after the last cigarette, the risk of further vascular deposition is similar to that of the non-smoking normal population. In addition, “the pressure should be removed from the legs”. This refers to the permanent lowering of blood pressure if high blood pressure is present. Last but not least, according to the physician, a reduction of an existing excess weight with the help of a healthy and balanced Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of fish, vegetables and good olive oil also helps.