People believe a common misconception that clogged arteries are only a problem for the elderly. But in most cases, by the time we reach our 20s, our arteries become clogged. That’s why many people with this disease don’t realize what’s going on until it’s too late. It is very important to know the symptoms and be alert to visit the doctor in time.
Here is a list of the 7 most common symptoms of blocked arteries. Look at your risk factors and change your daily habits with your health in mind.
- Pain in the calf, thigh, and thigh
Leg pain during exercise such as walking can be a sign of a blocked artery. This means that your limbs are not receiving enough blood flow. Symptoms may include muscle pain and swelling in the legs (or hands). The location of the pain depends on the location of the thickened or narrowed artery.
- Chest pain
Chest pain (or angina) is the result of reduced blood flow to the heart. It can be felt as tightness, numbness, heaviness, pressure, or burning. People usually do not feel this symptom when they are resting, because it is caused by physical and emotional stress. In some cases, the blockage is so bad that angina is a sign of a heart attack.
- Temporary loss of vision on one side
Carotid arteries supply our eyes and brain. If these vessels become blocked, the result is temporary vision loss or blurred vision on one side. A complete blockage can lead to a stroke. That is why it is so important to know this sign.
- Lower back pain
Lower back pain is a serious symptom that should not be ignored. When blood flow to the lower back is reduced, the discs between the vertebrae become vulnerable. It also causes pinched nerves. It is often the first symptom in people with blocked arteries: studies show that 10% of people in developed countries have a blocked abdominal aorta by the age of 20.
- Shortness of breath
This symptom occurs when the coronary arteries are damaged or painful. People experience this because the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. This study shows that people do not consider shortness of breath to be a serious problem. But sometimes it can be the only symptom of serious coronary disease that may require treatment.
- Cold feet or hands
Cold feet are caused by peripheral artery disease. This problem occurs when narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the extremities. Poor wound healing or weak pulses in the legs are signs that you need to see a doctor. Also, the presence of PAD may indicate more widespread arterial disease that can affect the brain and heart, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
- Fatigue and dizziness
Fatigue is rarely a symptom of coronary artery disease, but it can happen, according to Harvard Health Press. These symptoms are caused by poor blood flow and reduced oxygen levels. The Committee on Responsible Medicine says these symptoms are more common in women.
What increases the risk of blocked arteries?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, factors that increase your risk include:
Having unhealthy levels of cholesterol in your blood. This indicates high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol.
High blood pressure. Blood pressure should not exceed 140/90 mmHg.
Smoking. Smoking damages and hardens blood vessels, increases cholesterol and blood pressure. Moreover, it does not allow enough oxygen to reach the body’s tissues.
Overweight or obesity. A body mass index of 25-29.9 is considered overweight. A higher index means a person is obese.