10 Life-Threatening Symptoms of Clogged Arteries You Should Not Neglect
Cardiovascular problems such as heart attack happen to be on the increase worldwide. It is not restricted to senior citizens alone, due to ageing but seems to afflict people as young as ion their twenties and thirties. One of the earliest possible indications of a heart attack is clogged arteries, otherwise known as Atherosclerosis.
Arteries are blood vessels that transport life giving oxygen and crucial nutritive elements from the heart throughout the body. However, with ageing these tend to harden and narrow due to accumulation of cholesterol, calcium and other fatty substances. This eventually leads to lack of oxygen blood and other nutrients in the body cells. Sometimes, these plaques break into tiny bits and form clots. When left untreated, this increases the risk of heart attacks, failures and stroke.
Types of Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis generally causes clogging of arteries predominantly in the legs, heart and kidney. Nevertheless, there are other types of atherosclerosis such as:
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease occurs due to hardening of the coronary arteries that impede blood flow to the heart. This is because these arteries perform the role of supplying the hearts muscle tissue with blood and oxygen.
Carotid Artery Disease
The carotid artery present in the neck supply oxygen and the blood to the brain cells. However, with build up of plaque in this artery this function becomes inhibited.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Arteries supply blood and oxygen to the lower extremities of the body. Nonetheless, with hardening of the arteries the supply to the arms, legs and lower body is curtailed largely.
Kidneys that filter excess water from the blood and the waste, receive supply of blood via the renal arteries. Therefore, clogging of the renal arteries, increase the risk of renal diseases and failure.
Causes of Atherosclerosis
Some of the common factors responsible for hardening and thinning of the arteries are as given below
Elevated Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that mimics wax. This element is naturally found in the body apart from some of the foods that we eat. With an increase in this substance, they stick to the arterial walls and make them narrow eventually leading to restriction of blood supply to all the major organs of the body.
Consuming junk and processed food laden with fat is another factor for build-up of fat deposits in the arteries.
With natural ageing the blood vessels and the heart work extra hard to pump blood and transport throughout the body to vital organs. This causes weakening of the arteries that become less supple, making them more prone to plaque accumulation and formation
Symptoms of Clogged Arteries
For most part, the symptoms of atherosclerosis remain unidentified and do not show any indication until the occurrence of blockage. Some of the most common symptoms include…
Angina (Chest Discomfort)
Angina, or chest pain, caused due to reduced flow of blood to the heart is typically a possible marker of blocked arteries due to plaque build-up. The chest pain arises with chest tightness, heaviness along with pressure behind the breastbone. Commonly initiated by physical or emotional stress and tension this may worsen with any kind of physical exertion and go away with relaxation. Chest pain does not always imply clogged arteries. Occasionally, it could be due to a muscular spasm, indigestion, abdominal ulcer, upper respiratory tract infection or bladder disorders.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath could also signify congested arteries. Owing to plaque build up in the arteries, the heart finds it difficult to pump adequate blood to accomplish the body’s requirements. This often results in shortness of breath or tremendous fatigue, particularly with exertion. In a 2005 study made at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Researchers discovered that patients with shortness of breath possess a greater risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases than those without any significant signs and symptoms. Further, they were having a higher risk factor compared to affected individuals with typical heart pain. However, shortness of breath may also be due to heavy workouts, lack of oxygen or with regard to high-altitude areas, anemia, respiratory infection or disease, long-term bronchitis or allergic reactions.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) one of the most common male sexual problem that affects up to 30 million men in the United States, can also indicate clogged arteries and heart issues. According to a 2011 article published in the Circulation journal, ED is well-known marker of atherosclerosis or stiffening of arteries. Atherosclerosis in most cases affects the penis first, then the cardiovascular system and brain. Other than clogged arteries, ED can also be due to depression, low testosterone, nerve problems plus some medications.
Male Pattern Baldness
Baldness in men is yet another warning sign of congested arteries. Besides thinning of hair there may be possibilities of hair loss on the legs too. A research performed by Archives of internal medicine in the year 2000 revealed a probable correlation between Coronary artery diseases (CHD) and extreme vertex balding on the crown of the head, particular in men suffering from elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels. The study highlighted the increased risk and pointed out the other causes of male pattern baldness such as thyroid disorders, medications, hereditary factors, steroids and cancers.
Another surprising element is the characteristic earlobe crease that runs diagonally from the ear passage to the lower edge too could signify clogging of arteries. This occurs predominantly due to ineffective blood circulation in the body. This factor was brought to light in the year 1989 through a research study conducted by the British Heart Journal. Apart from this, another study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2012 an ear crease increased the risk of developing coronary artery disease that might also occur due to smoking and excessive smoking.
Excessive night sweats in a cool atmosphere also occurs with build up of plaque in the arteries. Besides this, abnormal sweating during physical activities and at times of inactivity could mean that due to plaque formation, the heart is required to pump harder for the blood to circulate through the clogged arterial walls. However, other causes of excess sweating could be due to nutritional deficiencies, obesity, tension stress or anxiety. Among women, nearing menopausal age, it might be due to possible symptoms of menopause.
Light-headedness along with a sudden feeling of weakness is another sign of either stroke or blocked arteries due to formation of clots. Dizziness combined with loss of coordination, walking difficulty and sudden unknown falls may be due to obstruction in the carotid arteries. These arteries supply blood to the large frontal part of the brain responsible for determining reasoning, thinking, speech, sensory motor activities and personality. Therefore, plaque deposits in this region curtail blood flow to the brain due to narrowing. Other possible causes could be due to neurological disorders, hypoglycemia, anxiety, anemia, migraines, head injuries, vision problems or heat stroke.
Palpitations and abnormal heartbeats usually occur during strenuous physical activity and also during stressful situations or due to coffee consumption. Nevertheless, this can happen due to clumping of arteries and can be evident combined with queasiness, sweating, chest heaviness, lightheadedness, blurred vision or fainting. Other medical conditions that produce heart palpitations are heart valve disorders, electrolyte imbalances, thyroid and anemia.
Clogged arteries leading to heart disease can also produce symptoms like indigestion, nausea, vomiting,stomach fullness or choking feeling in addition to other gastrointestinal problems due to lack of oxygen and inadequate blood circulation.People who develop a blockage in the renal arteries that supply blood to the kidneys may also experience nausea, mild indigestion, abdominal pain or vomiting.
If your legs hurt a lot or you have trouble-walking distances, it may imply an accumulation of plaque in the arteries that carry blood to your legs.