Your Leg and Arm Pain Could Indicate a More Severe Heart-Related Illness

Your Leg and Arm Pain Could Indicate a More Severe Heart-Related Illness

If you experience pain in your legs or arms while exercising, your discomfort might not be the result of too many reps or muscle strain from trying to set a new personal record. Rather, your pain may be indicative of a condition affecting the blood vessels, known as claudication. Claudication, sometimes referred to as intermittent claudication, occurs when blood flow to the legs (or arms) is restricted. Most patients first notice the pain associated with claudication during routine exercise, but it can also be made apparent during periods of rest if left untreated.

Surprisingly, claudication isn’t technically a disease. It’s actually a symptom of a disease — peripheral artery disease. Although treatable, peripheral artery disease is a potentially serious condition that restricts the ability of your blood vessels to circulate blood. This limits the amount of blood flowing to your legs and arms, which creates complications for those hoping to maintain an active and pain-free lifestyle. In this article, we’ll detail everything you need to know about claudication, including its symptoms and causes. If you believe that the pain in your legs and arms can be attributed to claudication, consult a cardiologist in Tampa from Ascent Cardiology Group to discuss your treatment options.

Symptoms

The symptoms of claudication are mainly pain-related, so it’s essential that you pay attention to what your body is telling you and avoid excessive strain. When your body says enough is enough, take a break and allow yourself to recover. The most common symptom of claudication is pain during exercise, which can occur in your feet, calves, thighs, hips, buttocks, or, less commonly, arms. Claudication will lead to pain in whichever area of your body is experiencing narrowing arteries or arterial damage. 

But what about people who don’t exercise or live a largely sedentary lifestyle? For these people, intermittent pain may still be felt during less-strenuous activities like shopping or gardening. The longer claudication goes untreated, the more apparent the pain will become. For instance, individuals may feel pain in their legs or back while sitting or lying down in the later stages of claudication. Discolored skin or ulcerations can also occur in those with severely restricted blood flow, leading to sores on the legs, feet, toes, arms, or fingers. If you notice that your toes or fingers have taken on a bluish hue or feel cold or clammy, you should consult a cardiologist in Tampa.

Causes

As we mentioned above, claudication is most often a symptom of peripheral artery disease, a disease that causes atherosclerosis in the arms or legs. Narrowed arteries cannot facilitate the flow of blood throughout the body and only get worse over time as fat, cholesterol, and other atherosclerotic plaques further clog the arteries. The body’s complex circulation system is like a series of highways designed to eliminate “traffic,” or congestive elements that restrict blood flow. Atherosclerosis is like a traffic jam. Too much atherosclerosis and the whole system starts to drag, resulting in less oxygenated blood in the places you need it most. 

Atherosclerosis and, by extension, peripheral artery disease, are the main causes of claudication, but there are other potential causes, too. Spinal stenosis, peripheral neuropathy and, certain musculoskeletal conditions can also lead to claudication. There are many factors that can increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis and, therefore, claudication, including:

  • Age: 50+ (Smokers and Diabetics)
  • Age: 70+
  • Diabetes
  • Family History
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity (BMI > 30)
  • Smoking

If you are experiencing pain in your arms or legs, you may be suffering from a type of pain known as claudication. Consult a cardiologist in Tampa, FL, to learn more about diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, you can take some simple steps to control your condition, such as:

  • Eat Healthy (Reduce Saturated Fat)
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels
  • Regulate Your Body Weight

To consult a cardiologist in Tampa, FL, from Ascent Cardiology Group, please contact us today.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Ascent Cardiology Group website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Ascent Cardiology Group or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Ascent Cardiology Group. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Ascent Cardiology Group is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

What Your Family History Says About Your Heart Health

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. While smoking, stress, and diet are clear risk factors, family history must also be taken into account when determining if a person is at an increased risk of developing this deadly condition. 

Below, we discuss how family history — your genes and upbringing —  is a key indicator in determining your risk of developing heart disease. If your parents, siblings, or close relatives have been afflicted with heart disease, consider seeking a heart specialist in Tampa Bay who can diagnose your condition.

It Runs in the Family 

When looking at your family history, start with your immediate family and work your way back. Did your parents or siblings suffer from a heart attack or stroke at a young age (55 or younger for men, 65 or younger for women)? Even if your parents were spared, if a grandparent suffered from heart disease, it could indicate that you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. In addition to heart attack and stroke, consider scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist if any of the following heart diseases are present in your family history: 

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Valve Disease
  • Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Inherited risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can also lead to heart disease and may shed light on who in your family is susceptible to developing a heart-related problem. For assistance in diagnosing and treating these conditions, consult a Tampa heart specialist from Ascent Cardiology Group. 

Looking at Environmental Factors 

Remember, family history is a combination of your genes and upbringing. The environment your family shares has an impact on your risk of developing heart disease. For example, if you come from a low-income family that was unable to afford healthy food, this may lead to heart disease later in life.

There are, of course, other characteristics that are beyond your control, such as your age, sex, and race or ethnicity. All of these risk factors can stack up and make it seem like heart disease is inevitable, but the only way to know for sure is to contact a Tampa heart specialist who can set your mind at ease and determine what treatment, if any, is right for you.  

Consult a Cardiologist

At Ascent Cardiology Group, we can employ several noninvasive procedures, such as a stress test or transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), to make a diagnosis and determine once and for all if you are at risk or suffering from heart disease. These same-day procedures allow our cardiologists to immediately diagnose the conditions of the heart. From there, we can develop a treatment plan and take any necessary steps to ensure your heart health is preserved. If you are concerned that your family history puts you at risk of developing heart disease, take a precautionary step and schedule an appointment with Sachin Diwadkar, M.D., of Ascent Cardiology Group. 

To consult a heart specialist in Tampa Bay from Ascent Cardiology Group, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Ascent Cardiology Group website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Ascent Cardiology Group or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Ascent Cardiology Group. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Ascent Cardiology Group is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

Staying Active With Heart Disease

Living with heart disease may require you to make some alterations to your lifestyle, but you can still enjoy being active, so long as you understand how to manage your condition. In fact, exercise is an important component of mitigating the effects of heart disease. Regular physical activity can help you strengthen your heart and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels at bay. If you are suffering from heart disease, consult a cardiologist in Tampa from Ascent Cardiology Group to see how your exercise regimen can be tailored to your condition.

Your Heart Needs Exercise

Exercise plays an important role in your heart health. From a young age, we are taught that exercise is a vital component of our growth from adolescence to adulthood. This logic doesn’t change as you get older. In fact, the importance of exercise is reinforced as time passes, especially when your heart starts to exhibit symptoms of heart disease. 

When your heart is strong, there’s a reduced chance of you succumbing to chest pain and other symptoms during exercise, which helps you sustain longer periods of increased activity. Other benefits to exercise include reduced blood pressure and cholesterol, weight loss, and strong bones. Those suffering from diabetes can control their blood sugar more effectively by exercising. 

Consult a Cardiologist Before You Kick-Off a New Workout Program

Before you start taking on a new exercise regimen, consult a cardiologist in Tampa, FL. By doing so, you can make sure that you’re staying healthy while staying active. In particular, individuals that have recently undergone a heart procedure or surgery or experienced a heart attack, chest pain or pressure, or shortness of breath should approach exercise deliberately to avoid putting excessive strain on their heart.

When you consult a cardiologist in Tampa from Ascent Cardiology Group, an experienced medical professional can tell you which exercises are best for your overall health and provide tips for easing back into an active lifestyle. Some potential recommendations may include:

  • Focus on aerobic activities. Your heart and lungs benefit most from exercises that push them to use oxygen. Aerobic activities also improve blood circulation. Try to increase the intensity of these exercises moderately every session.
  • Start slowly. Walking, swimming, light jogging, and biking are all examples of exercises that you can perform without worrying about overdoing it. 
  • Stretch before you start exercising to prevent other injuries. If you pull a muscle in your leg, you might not be able to run comfortably. If you can’t perform the exercise, your heart won’t benefit.
  • If you start to get tired or feel you are experiencing heart symptoms, take a break and cool down. 
  • Wear the proper clothing and footwear during exercise.
  • Pay attention to the weather. If it’s hot, exercise in the morning or in the evening. If it’s cold or snowy, exercise inside. Working out in freezing temperatures is ill-advised for those with heart disease.
  • Supplement your aerobic exercises with resistance weight training, which helps you improve your strength and muscular elasticity.

Live Your Life

Don’t let heart disease stop you from enjoying the things you most love to do. Whether you’re an avid fishermen, skilled gardener, or former marathon winner, you deserve to take part in the activities that make you happy. At Ascent Cardiology Group, we help patients overcome their heart-related ailments by guiding them through a comprehensive treatment program that uses the latest diagnostic procedures and noninvasive treatments to improve patient comfort and minimize side effects.

To consult a cardiologist in Tampa, FL, from Ascent Cardiology Group, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Ascent Cardiology website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Ascent Cardiology or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Ascent Cardiology. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Ascent Cardiology is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

How Diabetes Leads to Heart Disease

Over 30 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2015. Of those 30 million, roughly seven million went undiagnosed. This is especially alarming considering the connection between diabetes and heart disease. Below, we explore this connection and offer suggestions for those looking to control their blood glucose levels and prevent dangerous health conditions. If you suffer from diabetes or suspect that you do, it’s imperative that you take the initiative to better your heart health by consulting the best interventional cardiologist in Tampa, Dr. Sachin Diwadkar, FACC, FASE, of Ascent Cardiology Group.  

The Results of High Blood Glucose Levels  

Simply put, diabetes occurs when your blood has high blood glucose levels — too much sugar. If left untreated, high blood glucose will damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to heart disease. Your chances of developing heart disease only grow so long as you have diabetes. For those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, heart disease can take the form of the following:

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

In addition to heart disease, diabetes can lead to heart failure, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. While it may seem like nothing more than a preventable inconvenience, diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening complications if not kept in check. 

Causes of Diabetes 

Whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. It’s a common misconception that poor diet alone causes diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by genetics and environmental factors. While there is a strong connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes, genetic and environmental factors are also connected and the ultimate cause remains alone. 

If you are suffering or believe you are suffering from diabetes, there’s nothing for you to be ashamed of. Diabetes is a common disease that afflicts millions of Americans. More importantly, it’s a preventable and treatable condition. 

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include exhaustion, hunger, frequent urination, increased thirst, dry mouth and skin, and blurred vision. However, you may also experience yeast infections, difficulty healing from cuts and sores, and nerve damage resulting in pain or numbness in your feet if you’ve had type 2 diabetes for some time.

If your diabetes has lead to heart disease, you may experience severe symptoms or no symptoms at all. Those that silently suffer from heart disease do so at the risk of suffering a larger complication later in life, such as a heart attack. 

Prevention and Treatment Options  

Those that are worried about diabetes and their heart health can begin to make lifestyle changes to lower their chances of developing heart disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends that you eat well, stop smoking, be active, take prescribed medications as directed to by a doctor, and reduce stress. These are excellent recommendations; however, if your diabetes has progressed to a more serious condition, it’s imperative that you consult a cardiologist. 

At Ascent Cardiology Group, we specialize in interventional cardiology in Tampa. With the use of advanced, minimally invasive techniques, such as radial artery catheterization, we can diagnose and effectively treat your condition. Put your health first by trusting a doctor that has dedicated his life to improving the lives of patients who struggle with heart disease. Trust Dr. Diwadkar and the team of cardiologists at Ascent Cardiology Group. 

To consult the best interventional cardiologist in Tampa, from Ascent Cardiology Group, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Ascent Cardiology website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Ascent Cardiology or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Ascent Cardiology. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Ascent Cardiology is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.