Leg pain can warn of a heart attack
Certain types of leg pain can indicate an increased risk of heart attack. The German Heart Foundation points this out. The experts also explain what can be done to significantly reduce the increased risk of an infarction.
Beware of pain in the calves
If you feel pain in your legs while walking, which quickly subsides when you stop, this can be an indication of an increased risk of heart attack. The German Heart Foundation points this out on its website. According to the experts, one has to be particularly vigilant about calf pain.
Vascular deposits in the legs
You should also be alert to the pain in the toe area when lying down, especially if you can get relief by standing up.
"Both symptoms can be typical indications of arteriosclerosis," says the foundation.
This leads to deposits on various parts of the body, which in turn lead to circulatory disorders, according to Prof. Dr. Eike Sebastian Debus from the Department of Vascular Medicine at the University Heart Center Hamburg in a newsletter of the Heart Foundation.
"Even though the pain most often occurs in the legs when the arteries become calcified, other leg sections can also be affected," said the doctor.
"Depending on where the vascular deposits block blood flow, z. For example, complaints in the thighs or buttocks are also possible. "
Affected people have to stop again and again when walking
If the blood vessels in the legs are affected by a circulatory disorder, the clinical picture is called “peripheral arterial occlusive disease” (PAD), which is responsible for leg pain in around one million people in Germany.
With pAVK, which is also popularly known as a smoker's leg, the legs hurt so badly even under moderate stress that those affected have to stop again and again - this is why there is talk of the so-called shop window disease.
If, on the other hand, the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygen are affected, one speaks of a coronary artery disease (CHD), i.e. the dangerous basic disease of the heart, in which the circulatory disorders can lead to a heart attack, rhythm disturbances or heart failure.
Serious heart attack risk
Atherosclerosis is usually not limited to one place in the body, but occurs in the course of further regions, whereby the legs are often affected relatively late compared to the heart.
If there is arteriosclerosis in the legs, there is often significant calcification of the coronary arteries. For this reason, according to the Heart Foundation, arteriosclerosis-related pain in the legs should always be examined for the heart.
Statistical calculations underline how serious the risk of heart attack should be taken, according to which 75 percent of those affected eventually succumb to a heart attack, which goes far beyond the national average.
Not a constant part of aging
The experts of the German Heart Foundation point out that patients suffering from arteriosclerosis-related pain in the legs should definitely mention the complaints during the consultation and should never see them as an integral part of aging.
To protect yourself against vascular calcification, you should exercise regularly. “Recommended is z. Endurance sports, which can typically significantly slow down the development of arteriosclerosis, ”the experts write on their website.
It also makes sense to quit smoking. Those who stay away from cigarettes can enormously reduce the risk of arterial calcification and thus the risk of heart attack.
Studies have shown that just 24 months after the last cigarette, the risk of further vascular calcification no longer differs from the normal healthy population.
How to protect yourself against vascular calcification
A healthy diet also promotes healthy vessels. Experts usually advise a Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetable oils, vegetables and fish and little animal fat from meat or butter.
Obesity should be avoided, it favors vascular calcification in the legs.
Furthermore, one should “take pressure out of the veins”. This means the permanent lowering of blood pressure if there is high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure levels can severely damage the blood vessels in the legs.
But how high can the blood pressure values be? Until recently, there was still widespread agreement among medical professionals that a lowering of blood pressure was only necessary if the systolic blood pressure was more than 140 mmHg. Various studies have come to the conclusion that the new blood pressure target should be 120 instead of 140.
The German Heart Foundation warns that if medication is taken to prevent atherosclerosis to reduce the risk factors, errors in taking should be avoided.
"The tablets are often z. not taken regularly enough, partly because the intake is simply forgotten, but partly because of unpleasant side effects, ”write the experts.
If there are side effects, you should not stop taking the medication yourself, but clarify with the doctor whether other active ingredients may also be available. (ad)