Blocked arteries can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition. In this article, we will take a detailed look at the various aspects of arterial blockage.
What causes clogged arteries?
Blockage of the arteries is mainly caused by plaque buildup inside the arterial walls. Plaque is made up of various substances such as minerals such as calcium, fats and cholesterol. Belonging high cholesterol may lead to plaque accumulation. While some cases of high cholesterol are genetic, most are related to dietary and lifestyle choices, including exercise levels, smoking, and being overweight.
Foods that clog arteries
Some foods high in saturated and trans fats may contribute to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. In addition, foods high in salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn can increase the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. Processed meats like bacon are often the cause of both.
Other foods that can contribute to clogged arteries include fried foods, red meat, cream sauces, butter, cheese, and ice cream. On the other hand, food choices such as those in mediterranean diet and DASH diet, including fish, berries, and green leafy vegetables, may help reduce the risk of clogged arteries.
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Symptoms of clogged arteries
The cause of clogged arteries is primarily atherosclerosis, which develops over time in the form of plaques formed from fats, minerals, cholesterol, etc., accumulating inside the walls of the arteries. You may also notice that various parts of your body begin to suffer from a decrease in the supply of oxygenated blood, especially if the artery is completely blocked. Symptoms depend on where the blockage occurs and in which part of the body the blood supply is reduced.
Common symptoms of clogged arteries include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, lower back pain, cold hands or feet, pain or numbness in the legs, arms or legs, discoloration of the skin in the affected area, hair loss, decreased or no heartbeat, especially on feet, sores, or sores that do not heal.
Warning signs of clogged arteries
In some cases, a blockage in an artery can lead to serious symptoms that require emergency medical attention. This is mainly applicable when a blocked artery supplies a vital organ such as the brain or heart. Symptoms that may indicate a need for emergency medical attention include chest pain, sudden pain in the arm or back, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, nausea, asymmetrical facial features, sudden confusion or mental changes, difficulty speaking or swallowing weakness, especially in one side of the body, loss of consciousness and change in vision.
In such cases, it is important to immediately call an ambulance or seek emergency medical attention.
Risk factors for clogged arteries
A diet high in fat and cholesterol is one of many factors that can contribute to plaque formation and clogged arteries. Other risk factors for clogged arteries include smoking, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, obesity, a family history of high cholesterol, and chronic infections.
It is important to note that cholesterol is also an important risk factor. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for processing. The level of LDL cholesterol is considered high: from 130 to 159 milligrams per deciliter.
Diagnosis of clogged arteries
Diagnosis of arterial problems can start with your primary care physician, but if a blockage is suspected, you will likely be referred to a cardiologist or vascular specialist. Which specialist you go to will largely depend on where the blockage is located and what problems it causes. For example, if you have a blockage in an artery that feeds your brain, you may also need to see a neurologist.
Diagnosis begins with a physical examination and review of your personal and family medical history. Additional tests may be done to locate and assess the extent of the blockage. These tests may include cardiac catheterization, ultrasound, scans, blood pressure measurements, perfusion scans, computed tomography (CT), and blood tests.
Treatment of clogged arteries
The treatment of clogged arteries should be approached comprehensively. Your doctor will first treat the problems that led to the clogged artery. Lifestyle changes are important and may include quitting smoking, diet changes, regular exercise, diabetes and blood pressure control.
Medications may also be prescribed to help you manage conditions that can cause clogged arteries, including cholesterol medicines, blood pressure medicines, and diabetes medicines. In some cases, surgery may be required to mechanically unblock a blocked artery.
Complications of clogged arteries
The most dangerous complications of clogged arteries are heart attacks and strokes. A heart attack can happen when the coronary arteries that supply the heart are blocked. When the blockage affects the brain, it is called an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke can be effectively treated with strong blood thinners.
Other possible complications include ischemia, which is insufficient blood supply to an organ or part of the body, and blood clots, caused by the accumulation of platelets and other blood cells around a blocked area. These complications can lead to kidney and liver problems, poor wound healing, and even digestive problems.
Prevention and treatment of clogged arteries
The key to keeping your arteries free of blockages is to taken Eat a low-fat diet and exercise regularly. A plant-based diet has even been shown to help reverse coronary heart disease in some people. It is also important to control other chronic diseases that can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
It’s hard to clear a clogged artery naturally, but you can help slow and possibly reverse plaque buildup by adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating a heart-healthy diet.
Blocked arteries can lead to serious health problems, but with proper awareness and preventive measures, they can be prevented or effectively controlled. It is very important to understand the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this condition. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, making wise food choices, and managing risk factors, you can protect your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of clogged arteries.
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* PRESSE SANTÉ aims to communicate health knowledge in a language accessible to all. IN NO EVENT can the information provided be a substitute for the opinion of a healthcare professional.