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Heart & Vascular Program

Heart Health

Diseases & Conditions: Occlusive Disease

In occlusive disease of the arterial system, blood flow to the legs can be obstructed due to cholesterol and plaque formation. As the blood supply slows, a lack of oxygen causes tissue damage. Without treatment, ulcers and gangrene may develop.

Occlusive disease can have the following symptoms:

  • There may be foot and calf pain when you are walking. The pain is relieved with rest but returns after walking the same distance.
  • The pain can become constant and so severe it awakens the sufferer. Some relief is obtained by hanging the affected leg over the edge of the bed.
  • The feet may become cool and pale when raised.
  • One or both feet may become red or blue when they are hanging.
  • You may get a sore on one or both of your legs that does not heal.
  • There may be sudden loss of movement or feeling in one or both of legs.

Because your legs are not getting enough oxygen rich blood, you may require a procedure to re-establish the blood flow. There are a variety of ways of doing this including non-surgical and surgical interventions.