Claudication (cont.)

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Can claudication be prevented?

Some of the risk factors for claudication are behaviors that can be modified such as:

  • quit smoking,
  • managing diabetes and high blood pressure, and
  • maintaining a healthy diet to keep cholesterol levels normal.

Medications that help thin the blood can be used to help prevent symptoms of claudication, but they do not treat the underlying cause. Medications include:

Exercise is recommended for patients with claudication symptoms. Frequent exercise, especially walking, greatly reduces symptoms and increases symptom-free walking distance and is one of the most effective preventive measures.

What is the prognosis and treatment for patients with intermittent claudication?

The prognosis of claudication is generally favorable with treatment. Without treatment, 26% of patients worsen over time. Over 5 years, 4% to 8% will progress to require a revascularization procedure.

The underlying cause of claudication, peripheral vascular disease, does put patients at risk for other atherosclerotic diseases. A finding of claudication or peripheral artery disease should be considered a warning sign of other potential atherosclerotic blockages in the body.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery

REFERENCES:

Carman, T. L. and B. B. Fernandez. "A Primary Care Approach to the Patient with Claudication." American Family Physician. 15 Feb. 2000.

Mohler, E. R., et al. "Medical management of claudication." UpToDate. 4 June 2012.

Neschis, D. G., et al. "Clinical features and diagnosis of lower extremity peripheral artery disease." UpToDate. 12 Dec. 2013.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2014

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