February 10, 2022
What Are the Warning Signs of Clogged Arteries?
Clogged arteries can lead to several serious heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. Knowing the symptoms of clogged arteries can help you determine whether it’s time to see your doctor for treatment.
Here’s how to tell if you have clogged arteries and how to contact Healthcare Associates of Texas when you’re ready to get help.
What Are Clogged Arteries?
Clogged arteries are a condition known as arteriosclerosis. Clogged arteries occur when plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries. This reduces your blood flow or completely blocks your arteries.
What Are the Symptoms of a Blocked Artery?
Blocked arteries can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- High blood pressure
- Skin discoloration
- Excessive sweating
- Cold hands or feet
- Pain or numbness in the hands, feet, or legs
- Lower back pain
- Hair loss
- Slow or no pulse, especially in the feet
- Heart palpitations
- Sores or ulcers that heal slowly, or that won’t heal at all
What Are Symptoms of Clogged Arteries in the Heart?
A clogged artery that is supplying blood to your heart is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care. Signs of a blocked artery in the heart include many of the above symptoms, including:
- Sudden pain in the arm or back
- Rapid, racing heart rate
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Asymmetrical facial features, like a droopy smile
- Changes in vision
- Sudden confusion or mental changes
- Loss of consciousness
Seek medical attention right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. These symptoms may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
What Does a Clogged Artery Feel Like?
Arteries usually become clogged slowly over time due to behaviors like eating lots of fatty foods and not exercising regularly. You won’t be able to feel a clogged artery itself, and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, you will likely experience some or all of the above signs of clogged arteries if this health problem is affecting you.
How Do You Know if Your Arteries Are Clogged?
You may suspect that your arteries are clogged if you frequently experience the above symptoms of this health problem. The best way to know for sure if your arteries are clogged is to meet with your doctor. Your doctor can review your medical history, perform an exam, and run tests to determine whether you have a blockage.
Many times, your primary care doctor will refer you to a heart specialist, such as a cardiologist. You may be referred to a neurologist if your doctor suspects an artery in your brain is blocked.
There are many different tests your doctors may use to diagnose clogged arteries. Blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans are common tests your doctor may use to diagnose your condition.
What Causes Clogged Arteries?
The plaque that clogs your arteries is usually made up of cholesterol, fats, and minerals like calcium. Certain foods like processed meats (bacon, pepperoni, and sausage), margarine, and frozen pizza can cause plaque to build up in the arteries. Smoking cigarettes and drinking lots of alcohol can also clog your arteries.
Certain lifestyle factors that are not related to diet may clog your arteries. Obesity, stress, lack of exercise, and chronic infections can all lead to clogged arteries. Practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors is critical to keeping your arteries clean and avoiding clogged arteries.
What Are the Risks Associated With Clogged Arteries?
Heart attack and stroke are among the most serious health risks associated with clogged arteries. A heart attack can occur when an artery in your heart becomes blocked. A stroke can occur when an artery in your brain becomes blocked.
Ischemia, blood clots, and coronary artery disease are some of the many other risks associated with clogged arteries. Seeing your doctor regularly and making healthy lifestyle choices can often reduce your risk of developing clogged arteries.
What’s the Link Between Clogged Arteries and Heart Disease?
Your arteries are responsible for delivering blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart. Clogged and narrowed arteries can often prevent these vital substances from reaching your heart. This can lead to many unpleasant and harmful symptoms and increases the risk for heart disease.
Healthy arteries have smooth inner walls that are clear of plaque. This allows blood to flow through the arteries easily and without effort. Lifestyle behaviors like exercising regularly and eating heart-healthy foods can often prevent plaque buildup and clogged arteries. This is why a healthy lifestyle is a key to reducing your risk for heart disease.
What Are Treatment Options for Clogged Arteries?
Clogged arteries can often be treated and improved by making one or more permanent healthy lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and modifying your diet are effective treatments for clogged arteries. Exercising regularly and managing chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are also important.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you manage certain health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These medications may include beta-blockers, statins, and insulin. Anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications may also help you avoid complications of clogged arteries.
In severe cases, your doctors may use more invasive treatments to repair a blocked artery. These treatments may include:
- Laser angioplasty, in which a laser is used to vaporize and remove the clog.
- Balloon angioplasty, in which a small balloon is placed and inflated in the artery to remove the blockage.
- Atherectomy, in which tiny amounts of plaque buildup are shaved away to open the artery.
- Stent placement, in which tiny pieces of mesh coil are placed in the artery to improve blood flow.
- Bypass surgery, where a piece of a blood vessel is taken from another part of your body and used to repair the clogged artery.
Ask your healthcare provider about other treatments that may be available for clogged arteries.
When It’s Time To See a Doctor
It’s important to see your doctor right away if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a clogged artery. Clogged arteries will not improve on their own without treatment or without making healthy lifestyle changes. Your doctor can work with you to improve your symptoms so you can immediately start reducing your risk for heart problems.
Treating Heart Problems With Healthcare Associates of Texas
Healthcare Associates of Texas is home to a large team of board-certified medical professionals who can work with you to diagnose and treat any heart condition, including clogged arteries. Visit our website to find the nearest location and request an appointment.
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