Leg pain and heart attack link 'not common knowledge'

12 March 2013

The link between leg pain and the risk of suffering a heart attack is not well publicised enough, it has been claimed.

To mark Vascular Disease Awareness Week 2013, which starts today, the Circulation Foundation has highlighted the fact that pain in the leg can be an indicator of peripheral arterial disease, which can lead to sudden heart attacks and stroke.

In a bid to reduce the number of people suffering coronary events, the organisation is now advising them to undergo moderate exercise to keep their legs – and therefore their heart – in good condition.

Other early symptoms of heart problems include pain or cramping in the legs when walking less than 100m, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, while a family history of heart disease also raises risk.

Ian Franklin, a consultant vascular surgeon and chairman of the Circulation Foundation, said it is easy to reduce the risk of developing vascular disease or treat existing problems.

"Exercising more by walking greatly reduces the chance of a heart attack.  Attention to diet and stopping smoking also make a big difference to whether early vascular disease progresses to something more serious," he explained.

"Detected early, only minor modifications to lifestyle may be required to minimise the problem."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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