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Heart disease: Toe and leg pain warn of an early heart attack


Unspecific complaints such as pain in the calves when running and / or lying down can be typical symptoms of arteriosclerosis

In addition to the typical symptoms such as chest pain, arm pain, shortness of breath and reduced performance, non-specific complaints such as leg pain can also indicate an early heart attack. Particular attention should be given to pain in the calves if this occurs while walking and running, and then subsides when you stop. According to the cardiologists of the German Heart Foundation, this also applies to toe pain that subsides as soon as you get up.

"Both symptoms can be typical indications of arteriosclerosis," says the foundation. With arteriosclerosis, deposits occur in 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 the current issue of the Heart Foundation's newsletter.

Other leg sections can also be affected
“Even though the pain most often occurs in the legs when the arteries become calcified, other leg sections can also be affected. Depending on where the vascular deposits block the blood flow, z. For example, complaints in the thighs or in the buttocks are also possible, which should also entail a visit to the doctor, ”as the doctor explained.

Since the pain in the legs in arteriosclerosis usually only occurs later in the course of the disease, there is often significant calcification of the coronary arteries at this point. In the further course, an acute and life-threatening heart attack can result.

Patients who are affected by the described calf pain and / or leg pain should insist on consultation with the doctor that not only the legs but also the heart are examined regularly. Adequate examinations are an EKG, cardiac ultrasound, exercise ECG and, if necessary, a minimally invasive cardiac catheter examination, the costs of which are also borne by the statutory health insurance companies. Ultimately, the doctor decides which diagnostic tools to use.

Take complaints seriously

Those affected should take the symptoms seriously, said the vascular doctor. The risk of a heart attack is very high. According to some statistical surveys, 75 percent of those affected later succumb to a heart attack. Statistics show that the risk is significantly higher than the national average for this complaint.

This is how arteriosclerosis can be prevented

Various effective measures can be taken to protect yourself from atherosclerosis. The best option is active movement. For example, endurance sports can "typically significantly slow down" the development of arteriosclerosis. Smoking should also be stopped. Studies have shown that just 24 months after the last cigarette, the risk of further vascular deposits converges to that of the non-smoking normal population. In addition, "the pressure should be removed from the legs". This means the permanent lowering of blood pressure if there is high blood pressure. Last but not least, according to the medical experts, reducing an existing overweight helps with the help of a healthy and balanced Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of fish, vegetables and good olive oil. (sb)

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