When there is a build-up of cholesterol and other fats, blood cells, and other cellular debris into abnormal structures (plaques) on the lining of an artery occur. Plaques cause a narrowing and stiffening of the artery, limiting the flow of blood. When this takes place, pain in the legs ensues known as claudication and is a major warning that your cholesterol levels are too high.
An extremely common PAD symptom is claudication, a type of leg pain or discomfort.
Because the arteries are clogged, they can’t deliver enough blood to the legs to support exertion. Some people say their legs feel “heavy” or tired, or they report a burning pain, Dr. David Slovut says.
The pain can be in any part of the leg, from the calf to the thigh or buttock, and it may be in one or both legs.
Symptoms of claudication include the following:
- Pain, ache, discomfort or fatigue in muscles every time you use those muscles
- Pain in the calves, thighs, buttocks, hips or feet
- Less often, pain in shoulders, biceps and forearms
- Pain that gets better soon after resting
If you have noticed pain in your legs for no apparent reason, it is adviseable to speak with your GP to get your cholesterol levels checked.