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21 Apr 2006

Leg pains at night
My father had two hart bypasses, one in 1987 and another one in 2002. He does have high blood pressure and does take medicine for that. The problem that he experience is that both his legs pains terribly at night and although going to the normal GP, they could not find anything wrong. Where could we start looking for the problem?
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Expert
HeartDoc

01 Jan 0001

Dear Wilma,

Your father clearly suffers from vascular disease, with his history of bypasses, and ongoing blood pressure. Remember, that what happened to his heart arteries – becoming blocked and causing pain in his chest, tiredness etc – is just an example of what is happening in all the arteries in his body.

So, the most likely cause of the leg pains is inadequate blood supply, due to arterial problems. He will need to have a full vascular examination, pulses, leg blood pressure etc, and perhaps even Doppler studies of his arteries, to exclude this. If he has leg pains when he walks, and which get better when he relaxes, then this is probably the diagnosis.

However, there are other possibilities. If he has had leg problems ever since his ops, he may have a problem related to the removal of leg veins used in the bypasses. Another possible reason is an electrolyte imbalance. If your father is on diuretics (water pills) as part of his blood pressure treatment, then he may experience this problem. Remember that many blood pressure tablets are a combination of antihypertensive plus water pill, so he may be getting this all in one tablet.

If the leg problems are not due to vascular insufficiency, local (vein harvesting) after-effects, or medication induced, then it could be a neurological cause.

A good GP should be able to help sort out this problem at least part of the way, and then can refer you to the appropriate specialist for investigating and treatment.

Good luck.

HeartDoc.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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