Ailmemts & Remedies

Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent claudication is a cramping pain felt in the calf, thigh or buttock during walking or other exercise. It is caused by lack of oxygen to the muscles because of a poor blood supply, and is relieved by rest.

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. It is commonly referred to as “intermittent” claudication because it comes and goes with exertion and rest. (In severe claudication, the pain is also felt at rest.)

The term claudication comes from the Latin for ‘to limp’. The affected person doesn’t normally limp but as they walk, the pain starts to build and they limp to a standstill.

People affected describe intermittent claudication as an aching or cramping pain, accompanied by tightness or fatigue in the leg muscles or buttocks. For some, this pain arises only during strenuous activity; for others (with more severe disease of the arteries) it comes on after walking a few metres. The key factor is that the pain stops within a few minutes of resting

One of the hallmarks of arterial claudication is that it occurs intermittently. It disappears after a brief rest and the patient can start walking again until the pain recurs. The following signs are general signs of atherosclerosis of the lower extremity arteries:

*atrophic changes like loss of hair, shiny skin
*decreased temperature
**redness when limb is returned to a “dependent” position

All the “P”s
*Increase in Pallor
*Decrease in Pulses
*Perishing cold

Causes :
Most commonly, intermittent (or vascular or venous) claudication is due to peripheral arterial disease  (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which implies significant atherosclerotic blockages resulting in arterial insufficiency. It is distinct from neurogenic claudication, which is associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. click & see

Click to see the picture

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In people with PAD the arteries of the extremities – the feet, legs, hands and arms – become hardened or furred up (a process called arteriosclerosis) as cholesterol plaques build up on the inside of the arteries walls. This in turn obstructs blood flow.

When we walk, our muscles demand more oxygen, which is delivered through the circulation of blood. If not enough blood can get through, the muscles don’t receive enough oxygen and we experience pain.

When someone with intermittent claudication rests, the need for additional oxygen disappears and so does the pain

Intermittent claudication is much more common in men than women. It affects up to 10 per cent of people aged over 65 in developed countries. Most of those affected will also have significant disease of the coronary arteries and are at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Risk Factors:
The major risk factors for intermittent claudication include:
•High cholesterol
•Lack of physical activity
•High levels of a chemical called homocysteine
•Family history of arterial disease

Exercise can improve symptoms; increased blood flow enhances the creation of collateral vessels to the affected muscle. However, if movement increases claudication then excessive movement is difficult if not impossible.

Pharmacological options exist as well. Medicines that control lipid profile, diabetes and hypertension may increase blood flow to the affected muscles and allow for increased activity levels. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, antiplatelet agents (aspirin and clopidogrel), pentoxifylline and cilostazol (selective PDE3 inhibitor) are used for the treatment of intermittent claudication. However, medications will not remove the blockages from the body. Instead, they simply improve blood flow to the affected area.

Catheter based intervention is also an option. Atherectomy, stenting, and angioplasty to remove or push aside the arterial blockages are the most common procedures via catheter based intervention. These procedures can be performed by interventional radiologists, interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons and thoracic surgeons, among others.

Surgery is the last resort; vascular surgeons can perform either endarterectomies on arterial blockages or perform an arterial bypass. However, open surgery poses a host of risks not present with catheter-based interventions.

Alternative treatment:
Ginkgo biloba extract, an herbal remedy, has been used by people with intermittent claudication. The extract made from the dried leaves of the Gingko tree is thought to improve blood flow, allowing people to walk longer without pain.

However, herbal remedies are not regulated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and people should consult with their doctors before taking Ginkgo. Furthermore, use of this remedy could interact adversely when taken with Vitamin E and some medications.

The prognosis with intermittent claudication is generally favorable because the condition often stabilizes or improves in time. Conservative treatment is advised initially.

•Walking (to gain stamina) often helps increase the distance that the patient can walk without symptoms.

•Drugs that are approved for the management of intermittent claudication include pentoxifylline (Trental) and cilostazol (Pletal).

•If medication is inadequate, correction of the narrowing in the affected artery might be suggested. Procedures used to correct the narrowing of arteries include surgery (bypass grafting) and interventional radiology (balloon angioplasty or stents).

When claudication is severe and persistent, these procedures may be required to ultimately relieve the condition and the pain. Not all persons with severe claudication can benefit from these procedures. The potential to benefit depends on the exact location and degree of artery disease and the overall health status of the patient.

A healthy lifestyle is the best method for preventing intermittent claudication. Cigarette smokers should quit smoking. Regular exercise and a healthy diet help reduce the risk of this condition. If necessary, people should work to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Diabetics should strive to manage that condition, obese people should lose weight.

The methods of preventing intermittent claudication are also the means for managing the risks associated with a diagnosis of PAD.

People can learn more about peripheral vascular disease through public education programs like the free Legs for Life screenings held at sites across the nation. The program started the Society of Interventional Radiology features a free ABI testing.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose


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Research Suggests Heart Disease Could Have a Natural Fix!

A recent study looked at the effects of long-term L-arginine supplementation on the health of patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Ninety patients were randomly assigned to two groups — one that received daily oral L-arginine and one that received placebo capsules.

Patients were evaluated for a number of health factors, including lipid profile, glucose, insulin, and arterial elasticity.

According to the study in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology:

“… [L]arge artery elasticity index (LAEI) … was significantly greater in patients treated with L-arginine than in the placebo group … Systemic vascular resistance was significantly lower in patients treated with L-arginine …

This improvement was associated with a decrease in systolic blood pressure, peripheral vascular resistance as well as a decrease in aldosterone levels.”

Source: Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology June 7, 2010

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News on Health & Science

Simple Test to Spot Heart Risks

The use of common and readily available screening test called the ankle brachial index (ABI) could spot people with otherwise  unsuspected heart risks, a new research has shown.

Information was analyzed from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey—a cross-sectional survey of 6,292 American men and women ages 40 and older without known history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or atherosclerotic vascular disease. Researchers found prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in a large population of women and men who were not considered at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

“If novel risk factors are shown to improve risk prediction, they could be very valuable because the prevalence of abnormal values is high in populations not known to have high risk,” said Timothy P Murphy, an interventional radiologist

Sources: The Times Of India

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News on Stem Cell Therapy

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Two recent TheraVitae patients who made their way across the globe to receive Vescell Adult Stem Cell therapy for their heart conditions. Both men are profiled in their local newspapers and their stories here.


In the first article, Florida native, Jack Bodolay has his story told in The Ledger, a prominent newspaper in Central Florida.

In the second article, the East Oregonian details the exploits of James “Superman” Burns and talks about his new mission to spread the word about the wonders of adult stem cell therapy.

Take Heart: Stem Cell Therapy Found to Be promising
By Robin Williams Adams
The Ledger

LAKELAND — Businessman Jack Bodolay went to Thailand for help when Florida doctors couldn’t do anything more to boost his failing heart.

Stem cells from his blood were multiplied by the millions and put into his heart in an experimental procedure to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood.

The treatment at Bangkok Heart Hospital cost him between $30,000 and $35,000. Improvement wasn’t guaranteed.

Not getting it, however, would have meant giving in to his steadily worsening congestive heart failure, which the Lakeland man wasn’t willing to do.

“My thoughts were `I don’t have much time left and I’m going to do what I have to do,’ ” said Bodolay, who is 76.

His ejection fraction — the percentage of blood pumped from the heart each beat — was 20 percent or less when he left for Thailand, he said. Normal pumping ability is 50 percent to 75 percent; below 35 is low.

Four months later, he’s glad he had the procedure. His pumping percentage has increased slightly to 22 or 23, and Bodolay is optimistic that it is going up instead of down.

“I can tell I’m much stronger on the inside than I was,” he said. “If I can make the same progress in the next three months . . . I’ll be in good shape.”

In deciding to get that treatment, he was encouraged by the improved condition of singer Don Ho, well known for “Tiny Bubbles” and “The Hawaiian Wedding Song,” who had the same procedure late last year.


Stem cells heal heart overseas

WESTON – Jim Burns was frustrated.

A heart attack at age 44 left him often fatigued and short of breath. Over the 23 years that followed, doctors performed quadruple bypass surgery, did angioplasty and inserted stents, but his condition gradually worsened. Burns’ options appeared to be dwindling.

“I had probably 50 heart attacks,” he said. “Your heart dies a little at a time.”

Then, one day, he saw a public television program about something called stem cell therapy. Some English researchers testing the procedure on a group of patients, saw incredible improvement, Burns remembered.

He searched the Internet for more information about the therapy and found a biotechnology company in Thailand that specializes in stem cell therapy for heart patients. The company, TheraVitae, uses VesCell stem cell treatments on patients with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. The company’s Web site claimed an 80 percent success rate after treating over 130 patients.

In stem cell therapy, doctors take stem cells from the patient’s own blood, multiply them in a lab and, later, reinject them into the damaged heart.

The more Burns learned, the more excited he got. Many telephone calls and blood tests later, Burns was winging his way to Thailand with his wife, Melva, with high hopes the procedure would help his weakened heart.

On July 20, doctors withdrew blood from Burns. Five days later, he sat on a steel table in a hospital operating room, watching a monitor as doctors worked.

“It took about 40 minutes,” Burns said. “They put 28 million stem cells into me.”