When Aches in Legs, Thighs or Hips Signal Hardened Blood Vessels

Print icon

As we age, our body tends to wear down. We feel aches and pains that we’ve never felt before and with no obvious reason.

For almost 12 million people in America, the pain, aching and fatigue they feel in their thighs, hips and leg muscles may be from poor blood circulation caused by hardened blood vessels, also known as claudication. This condition is commonly known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and the number of cases is expected to increase in the U.S. and worldwide. If left untreated, PAD cases can get worse over time and result in limb loss. Additionally, people with PAD are often at higher risk for stroke and developing coronary artery disease.

Cigarette smokers, diabetic patients, people with cardiovascular diseases or adults over the age of 70 are all vulnerable to the condition, but there are solutions.

There are several ways to test for PAD. If you are experiencing pain in your legs while walking, a simple treadmill exercise can detect levels of PAD. The test detects the blood pressure in your ankles, which determines if the muscles in your legs are receiving sufficient circulation.

Walking a minimum of three times per week for 30 to 60 minutes can help prevent blood vessels from hardening. A healthy and active lifestyle helps reduce the risk of PAD, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup), and other cardiovascular diseases. The Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) offers 60-minute exercise sessions with registered nurses and cardiovascular exercise physiologists who provide assessments, stretches and exercise evaluations with aerobic therapy over the course of 12 weeks.

When PAD is in its later stages, or if other treatment options have failed, endovascular or surgical treatment may be required. HOCC offers a state of the art hybrid procedure room that allows providers to treat complex vascular diseases with a minimally invasive approach. This procedure enhances the recovery time and allows patients to go home sooner.

Dr. Parth Shah is the director of vascular and endovascular services at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. For more information on peripheral arterial disease and other cardiovascular diseases, click here. To find a doctor, call 833.444.0014

 

 

 


What's New


The Link Between Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States and worldwide. For the man who regularly consults with his doctor, however, heart disease and its potentially fatal consequences are usually avoidable. Dr. Waseem Chaudhry is a preventive cardiologist at the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Men’s Health Center....

2020 Census

Why the Census Is a Healthcare Issue

By Jeffrey A. Flaks Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer and Sarah S. Lewis Hartford HealthCare Vice President, Health Equity Among the New Year’s resolutions that you’ve made (or maybe already broken), here’s one that should be easy to keep: Complete your U.S. Census form, and encourage everyone you...

Exercise and Your Heart

February Walk to Wellness: The Best Exercises for Your Heart

The heart is a muscle and needs exercise just as much as other muscles in the body, but just how much exercise is enough to maintain good health? Similar to a prescription for any medication, exercise can be prescribed for the prevention, treatment and/or control of almost any chronic condition,...

Cancer/Yoga

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in February

Got a bad  case of cabin fever? Snap out of it with upcoming classes on Medicare Advantage, surgical weight loss, youth mental health first aid and car-seat safety for mothers-to-be. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of classes and...

Coronary calcium score.

This 5-Minute Test Reveals Your Heart Disease Risk

Do you know your coronary calcium score? Screening helps you understand your risk of heart disease Coronary artery disease, also known as heart disease, is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women. Knowing your risk before you experience symptoms could save your life. Thanks to coronary calcium...

Mature man in health class

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in January

Don’t slow down, just because winter’s coming. Learn about joint replacement, art therapy, grief self-care and Medicare 101. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of the rest of this month and January, click here