Modern Heart and Vascular Institute
Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Humble, TX, Katy, TX & Cleveland, TX
Arterial blockages are a common issue and the underlying cause of many circulatory diseases. Clogged arteries can silently develop over time before becoming a life-threatening problem, which makes early detection vital. At Modern Heart and Vascular, we focus on quick intervention and prevention to avoid complications and improve your quality of life.
What Is Arterial Blockage?
Your arteries are the critical blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Throughout your life, plaque builds up in your arteries. This plaque consists of various substances in your blood, including cholesterol, calcium and other fibrous or fatty deposits. When the plaque reaches a certain level, your arteries become more narrow and blood flow decreases. Arterial blockages can be partial or complete depending on the extent of the plaque accumulation.
Inadequate blood flow will weaken your body. Clogged arteries can lead to cardiovascular issues like peripheral or coronary artery disease, putting you at a greater risk for major complications. The greater the blockage, the worse the damage. If the built-up plaque ruptures, you can experience a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
Causes of Clogged Arteries
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, is a common condition. It can begin in your youth and accumulates over time, meaning it might not cause problems until middle age or later in many people. While plaque naturally collects on your artery walls as blood circulates through your veins, several factors influence the extent of the buildup. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes or other underlying conditions.
Your lifestyle also plays a role in clogged arteries. Smoking, obesity, excessive stress and an inactive or sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of developing life-threatening arterial plaque.
Symptoms of Blocked Arteries
Clogged artery symptoms depend on the severity and location of the plaque buildup. In many cases, arterial blockages are silent for a long time. The first sign of a blocked artery might be a heart attack or stroke following a rupture. Other times, partial blockages can cause symptoms that you’ll notice before a major event. One of the most common signs of arterial blockage is chest pain (angina) caused by reduced blood flow. The level of pain often correlates with the extent of the blockage.
Other signs of clogged arteries can include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain in the lower legs (claudication).
- Weakness or dizziness.
- Heart palpitations.
Arterial Blockage Treatment
Your doctor or healthcare provider can perform diagnostic tests, like an ultrasound or arteriography, to determine the extent of the blockage. Treatment of arterial blockage depends on its severity. Typical treatment plans include lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and losing weight. Your doctor may recommend medication or surgical procedures, including stent placement, angioplasty or bypass procedures.
Preventing Clogged Arteries
Most people accumulate arterial plaque throughout their lives, but you can take steps to minimize the buildup and subsequent risks. A healthy lifestyle, including eating well, staying active and not smoking, will help improve your cardiovascular health. Managing your existing health conditions like diabetes will also help decrease your risks of serious complications.
Contact Modern Heart and Vascular to learn more about arterial blockages and schedule an appointment today.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.