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High Blood Pressure

Mild/Severe leg pains blood pressure related?

09/23/2002

Question:

I don`t have hypertension; actually, my doctor has told me that I have low blood pressure. I know this to be true, I test my blood pressure quite a bit and it is always low, even when I go to the doctor. I was having dizziness and lightheadedness; but, I am wondering if another problem I am having is related to my blood pressure. I have very severe leg pains. It feels as if I don`t have any circulation in them (it usually just affects my right leg right above my knee--the front side of my leg). I have had these pains for as long as I can remember but I have never been given a reason. I don`t know what the problem is. I do not do any weight training for my legs. The little bit of exercise I do is using my own body weight and I don`t really work my legs out. If this is a condition related to my blood pressure should I see a specialist and if so which kind?

Answer:

The fact that you have low blood pressure makes it unlikely that you have severe vascular disease. Therefore, your leg pain is probably not due to a problem with your circulation. There are several possible causes for chronic leg pain. Some people experience leg discomfort and sometimes pain, esp. at night. This condition is called restless leg syndrome and is often inherited. It can be treated with drugs like Xanax or Ativan. Another cause of chronic leg pain is fibromyalgia. This disease is characterized by widerspread pain of the muscles, and ususlly involves both sides of the body, both above and below the waist. Although chronic, the disease generally does not worsen with time and can be treated with several drugs, including Motrin, Valium or Elavil. Sometimes treatment for depression is helpful. Another possible cause of leg pain can be neuropathy secondary to diabetes or thyroid disease. In most cases, a good physical exam and some basic laboratory tests can provide a diagnosis. In your case, I would recommend a visit with an internist (specialist in internal medicine).

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati