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10 Signs You’re Living With Clogged Arteries

Introduction

Clogged arteries are a dangerous business. They can cause many health issues, the most serious of which are high blood pressure and heart attacks. But how do you figure out that your arteries might be clogged before things get bad or need medical intervention? Paying attention to your body is crucial. These are the signs of clogged arteries that you might not be noticing.

Understanding Arteries and Plaque Build-Up

Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood throughout your body. They carry this blood to your brain, to all the major and minor organs of your body, to your muscles, and even all the way down to the tips of your fingers and toes. In healthy arteries, the blood flows freely because the walls are smooth and free of obstructions. Clogged arteries, however, have built-up plaques on their walls. These plaques reduce blood flow and can even block it altogether, leading to a heart attack.

Knowing the Signs

Recognizing the early signs of clogged arteries is crucial to resolve the problem before it poses a significant risk to your health. Thankfully, you can improve clogged arteries with some simple diet and exercise interventions. If they are heavily clogged or you have a family history of heart problems, your doctor may also prescribe medications to help keep your arteries in check. If you have any of these ten warning signs of clogged arteries, see your doctor right away to develop a plan to improve them.

10 Warning Signs of Clogged Arteries

1. Chest Pain

Chest pain, also known as angina, results from reduced blood flow to the heart because of built-up plaque in the arteries that lead to it. Angina usually begins in the chest by the breastbone and can extend into your left arm or shoulder, jaw, and upper back. If you are experiencing ongoing chest tightness and pain, speak with your doctor immediately.

2. Shortness of Breath

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, this could be because your pulmonary arteries are clogged. While it is normal to feel short of breath after climbing the stairs or physical exertion, if it is more than usual, ongoing, and especially if it occurs when you are sedentary, you should have it looked at by a healthcare professional.

3. Weakness or Numbness in One Side of Your Body

If blood flow is restricted or cut off in your carotid arteries, it could cause you to experience weakness or numbness on one side of your body. The carotid arteries are those that carry blood from the heart to the head and are located on either side of the neck. They both split into two branches, one that carries blood to the brain and eyes and the other that takes it to the face, tongue, and external parts of the head.

4. Slurring of Words

Slurring your words could be a symptom of a number of conditions, one of which is blocked carotid arteries. This could affect either the interior branch that carries blood to the brain or the exterior branch that supplies the tongue.

5. Vision Loss

Vision loss is a symptom of a clogged exterior branch of the carotid artery. This could affect one or both eyes. If you experience a sudden decrease in vision or blurred vision, see your doctor right away.

6. Leg Pain

There are many reasons why you could be experiencing leg pain, one of which is clogged peripheral arteries. These are the arteries in your legs and arms. Pain in one leg without any other explanation, such as an injury, could indicate a clogged artery.

7. Cold Feet

When blood can’t travel freely through your body, your extremities will get cold. Cold feet could mean that blood flow is blocked or restricted in your legs, preventing it from reaching your feet properly. This could be a sign of a blocked peripheral artery.

8. Delayed Healing of Injuries on the Feet

This symptom goes along with unexplained cold feet. Injuries need blood to heal. If blood is not flowing sufficiently to an injured area, the healing process will be slow or ineffective. If you notice that injuries on your feet or lower legs are not healing as they should, talk to your doctor.

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9. Heart Palpitations

Any changes in your heart rate should prompt a visit to your doctor. Heart palpitations, which are a sudden awareness of your heart beating, could be a sign that blood is not flowing properly. This can feel like your heart is pounding, fluttering, or beating irregularly, and it usually lasts for just a few seconds or minutes. You might also feel these sensations in your neck or throat.

10. Nausea

Nausea is a common symptom of many conditions, one of which could be clogged arteries. Although feeling nauseous doesn’t automatically mean you have clogged arteries, ongoing nausea should be discussed with your doctor.

The Bottom Line

Being aware of the symptoms of clogged arteries, as well as other health conditions, isn’t meant to make you a hypochondriac. Rather, it is to protect you. Awareness and the courage to seek medical advice when you notice signs and symptoms can save your life or that of someone you love. Take your symptoms seriously and talk to a doctor.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Arteries

  1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet. Avoid trans fats, saturated fats, and high-sugar foods.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Activities like walking, cycling, and swimming are excellent choices.
  3. Manage Stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.
  4. Avoid Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for arterial plaque build-up. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your arterial health.
  5. Regular Health Check-Ups: Regular check-ups with your doctor can help detect issues early and manage risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

FAQs

What causes arteries to clog?

Arteries clog due to the build-up of plaque, which consists of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, this plaque hardens and narrows the arteries, restricting blood flow.

How can I prevent clogged arteries?

You can prevent clogged arteries by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, managing stress, and keeping up with regular health check-ups.

Can clogged arteries be reversed?

In some cases, clogged arteries can be improved with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Medications and medical procedures may also be necessary to treat severe cases. Consult with your doctor for a personalized treatment plan.

Are there any foods that help clear arteries?

Foods rich in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats can help maintain arterial health. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fatty fish. Avoiding processed and high-sugar foods is also beneficial.

When should I see a doctor?

If you experience any of the warning signs mentioned, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness on one side of the body, or any other concerning symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. Regular check-ups are also important for early detection and management of potential issues.

Is family history a factor in clogged arteries?

Yes, family history can play a significant role in your risk of developing clogged arteries. If you have a family history of heart disease or arterial problems, it’s important to be proactive about your health and consult with your doctor regularly.

Conclusion

Understanding the warning signs of clogged arteries and taking proactive measures to maintain arterial health are essential steps in preventing serious health issues. By paying attention to your body and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can significantly reduce your risk of clogged arteries and improve your overall well-being. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or symptoms to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.