If you notice constant pain in your arms or legs, or if notice it's worse that usual, you could be at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Arteriosclerosis is when plaque builds up inside a person's arteries. It is the main cause of Peripheral Artery Disease. "The disease is basically any kind of narrowing or blockage or ballooning, meaning aneurismal disease of the arteries that supply our upper and lower extremities," according to Dr. Khumara Huseynova, a WVU Healthcare vascular surgeon.
Peripheral Artery Disease is most common in the legs. Symptoms include pain in the buttocks, thighs, calves and feet. Pain is easily induced by exercise. Over time it becomes constant. Since there are many causes of this sort of pain, it's important to rule out other potential problems. "If someone has Peripheral Arterial Disease, it means they are at high risk, at least two, three times higher risk of having heart attack or stroke," according to Dr. Huseynova.
People with diabetes should be particularly aware of the risks. She went on to explain, "Over time, the nerves that supply the extremities like hands, and arms and legs and feet undergo changes as a result of diabetes and they lose the protective feeling of pain."
Controlling factors like blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol levels and moderate exercise can help decrease risks, according to Dr. Rolly Sullivan with WVU's School of Medicine.