Claudication (cont.)

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Why does claudication come and go?

The usually intermittent nature of the pain of claudication is due to a temporary inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscles of the leg. The poor oxygen supply is a result of narrowing of the arteries that supply the leg with blood. This limits the supply of oxygen to the leg muscles and is especially noticeable when the oxygen requirement of these muscles rises with exercise or walking. Claudication that comes and goes is often referred to as intermittent claudication.

What can cause the artery narrowing that leads to claudication?

Intermittent claudication can be due to temporary artery narrowing due to spasm of the artery (vasospasm), permanent artery narrowing due to atherosclerosis, or from the complete blockage of an artery of the leg.

Who typically is affected by claudication?

Intermittent claudication is more common in men than in women. The condition affects 1% to 2% of the population under 60 years of age, increasing in incidence with age, to affect over 18% of persons over 70 years of age, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

What are the risk factors for claudication and peripheral vascular disease?

Risk factors for peripheral artery disease and claudication include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2015

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