Many people expect that they will experience weakening limbs and walking difficulties as they age and don’t pay attention if it happens to them. In fact, these symptoms can be closely related to vascular problems.
Feeling pain when walking can be due to blood vessel blockages. A symptom closely related to arterial occlusion is the feeling of discomfort or pain in the legs or feet when walking. Many patients describe it as a feeling of their limbs getting heavier and heavier or their muscles getting tighter and tighter when they walk. In serious cases, patients may need to take a rest after walking for a short distance before they can continue. It is a typical sign of ischemia of the lower extremities due to blood vessel blockages and is often seen among the elderly.
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Many people harbor the notion that walking slowly or walking with discomfort is natural with old age. The truth is, regardless of age, if there are no joint or muscle problems, walking should not cause any discomfort.
If you are over 50 and have problems walking, schedule a time with your healthcare provider to have a vascular screening. If your parents have these conditions, make sure that you take them in for a checkup. For people who smoke or suffer from diabetes, symptoms can show up as early as the age of 40.
People with ischemia in the lower legs may also have ulcers on their calves, shins, or feet. In severe cases, the toes can turn black and gangrene can develop. This tends to happen to diabetic patients more easily. It is highly advised for them to take good care of their feet.
Translated by Cecilia and edited by Helen