You may have heard of some fast-food restaurants proudly advertising their “artery-clogging” burgers or meals! These foods may be appealing when enjoyed in moderation, but make no mistake: clogged arteries are a serious matter. If you’ve regularly enjoyed fast foods and are worried about the effect it may have had on your health, you might be wondering about the warning signs of clogged arteries. How would you know what shape your arteries are in?
So, this post will look at how arteries can become clogged and what warning signs you should look out for. Finally, we’ll look at the best way to make sure your arteries are in good condition.
The Dangers of Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol, fatty acids, and plaque on the inside of your arteries, is no joke. Sadly, most people don’t take the disease as seriously as they should. The primary causes of this buildup include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Risk factors include consuming foods high in saturated fats, smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a lack of physical activity.
Once the arteries narrow, the symptoms compound and make it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body. Organs become starved for nutrients and oxygen, and the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or death increases significantly.
So what are the warning signs that your arteries might have narrowed or developed blockages?
Warning Signs of Clogged Arteries
The reason that clogged arteries aren’t taken as seriously as they should be is likely because there aren’t any obvious symptoms. Therefore, the problem is often missed until it becomes a serious medical emergency. However, sometimes, warning signs can show up before a more serious event takes place.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) and Anginas are both important warning signs. A TIA is a minor stroke or a small blockage that affects a blood vessel in the brain. Symptoms can mirror those of a more serious stroke, including weakness on one side of the body, slurred or incoherent speech, drooping features on one side of the face, or loss of vision in one eye.
An Angina is a minor heart attack occurring when there is a small blockage in a blood vessel supplying the heart muscles. Symptoms, again, mirror those of a heart attack: one might experience chest pain, sweating, lightheadedness or dizziness, and heart palpitations. They might feel out of breath or feel an “impending sense of doom.”
You should take both warning signs extremely seriously, and you should see a doctor ASAP.
How To Keep Your Arteries Healthy
Keeping your arteries healthy involves maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle. It would be best if you quit smoking, get regular physical exercise and eat a balanced diet. If you’re obese, losing weight will help immensely. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you should control those conditions with the help of lifestyle changes and medication.
If you visit a cardiac specialist, they might use an echocardiogram to evaluate the condition of your heart. This is an ultrasound of your heart that they will use to assess your risk of heart disease.
Finally, the surest way of finding out the condition of your arteries is through an arterial doppler ultrasound. More specifically, a carotid doppler ultrasound study will evaluate the blood flow going from your heart to your brain and will be able to check for any blockages or narrowing.
We hope this post has been useful in shedding light on some of the serious warning signs of clogged arteries that are missed so often until something serious happens. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to see a doctor or cardiovascular specialist to evaluate your symptoms appropriately.
At the Northwest Heart Center in Tomball, TX, we understand the value of empowerment through education. We listen to all of our patients and keep patients confident and comfortable through our high-quality care practices. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach us at (281) 351-6250.
We look forward to hearing from you.