Abdominal aortic occlusive disease is often detected following symptoms of pain, cramping or aching in the patient's thighs, hips, buttocks and calves, according to Oregon Surgical Specialists. Symptomatic pain in the lower extremities can occur while walking, climbing stairs or at rest.
The condition of plaque and calcium build up in the arteries is known as atherosclerosis, and it indicates that the arterial wall is weakening, according to the Chicago Tribune. Atherosclerosis may lead to an aneurysm, which can be fatal if it ruptures in rare cases. In some cases, the condition is treated with a combination of medications, anticoagulants, diet and exercise. Additionally, doctors may perform an angioplasty to remove blood clots.
Plaque build up in the arteries is primarily made up of fatty acids and cholesterol, which causes inflammation, according to Oregon Surgical Specialists. If the aortic artery becomes completely blocked or develops blood clotting, oxygen and blood can no longer pass through to the legs. The blockage also impacts other arteries, including those that carry oxygen to the heart, brain and lungs, creating a higher risk for stroke or heart attack.
The risk of developing atherosclerosis is increased by lifestyle factors such as smoking and a high fat diet, according to Oregon Surgical Specialists. Diabetics as well as those over the age of 60, who have hypertension or who have a family history associated with atherosclerosis are in a higher risk group.