Claudication may go undiagnosed because many people consider the pain an unwelcome but inevitable consequence of aging, and some people just reduce their activity level to avoid the pain. But the tests your doctor may use to diagnose your condition are often noninvasive and can get you back on your way to resuming an active life.
Some common tests used to diagnose claudication include:
- Checking the pulses in your feet
- Ankle-brachial index to compare the blood pressure in your ankles to the blood pressure in your arms
- Doppler ultrasound, which monitors blood flow in the area affected
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) angiography to show if your blood vessels are narrowed with plaque
The pain in your legs could be due to another condition, such as spine, joint or muscle problems. Your doctor can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a medical history, physical exam and appropriate tests.
Jan. 31, 2015
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- Peripheral artery disease. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_arterial_disorders/peripheral_arterial_disease.html. Accessed Nov. 18, 2014.
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- Rooke TW, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA focused update of the guideline for the management of patients with peripheral artery disease (updating the 2005 guideline). Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2011;58:2020.
- Rudisill HM, et al. Effective therapies for intermittent claudication. American Family Physician. 2011;84:699.
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- Nordanstig J, et al. Improved quality of life after 1 year with an invasive versus a noninvasive treatment strategy in claudicants: One-year results of the Invasive Revascularization or Not in Intermittent Claudication (IRONIC) Trial. Circulation. 2014;130:939.
- Mazari FAK, et al. Randomized clinical trial of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, supervised exercise and combined treatment for intermittent claudication due to femoropopliteal arterial disease. British Journal of Surgery. 2012;99:39.
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