Can a 'leg attack' be life-threatening?

The condition increases one’s risk of heart/ brain damage as it restricts blood flow to these organs. Restricted blood flow occurs when there is a blockage in the artery in the lower limbs. This condition is called Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD).

Blocked arteries in the leg indicates that the patient has a 60 per cent chance of developing PVD in other parts of the body.

 PVD is often a condition that is caused by:

* Smoking
* Diabetes
*High cholesterol
*High blood pressure
*Sedentary lifestyle
*Junk food
* No exercise 

A leg attack can become a cause of worry if it is not diagnosed on time or misdiagnosed. Due to lack of blood supply, it can lead to the gangrene (death of tissues) of the feet, which might require amputation of the patient’s leg.
 
Signs and symptoms

If you have pain in your legs while walking or a continuous burning sensation in the toes, you could be suffering from PVD. This is really the first symptom of a ‘leg attack’. PVD typically affects the legs and arms, or  the arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. Symptoms begin with pain or burning sensation in the toes. This in turn reduces the pace at which you walk. Other symptoms include:

*Cold sensation in the legs/ feet
*Redness or bluish discolouration of the calves
*Numbness and severe leg pain
*Delay in the healing of wounds in the legs/ feet
* Swelling of legs/ feet
*Gangrene
 
Diagnosis

If you experience any of the above symptoms, visit a specialist orthopaedic. The doctor will conduct a specialised machine test to detect blood flow before making a diagnosis.

Treatment

In the initial stages, leg attacks can be treated with suitable drugs, simple exercises and physiotherapy. Even if the patient is late in seeking medical help, the limbs can be salvaged with a high degree of success and low complication rate by vascular bypass or minimally invasive end vascular procedures like angioplasty and stenting.

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