Artery Blockage Symptoms
Artery blockage, also known as arteriosclerosis (from the Greek arterio=vessel, skleros=hard), is a common disease also identified as “atherosclerosis” or “hardening of the arteries.”
Arteriosclerosis develops in damaged areas of the inner layer of the arteries. Blood fats and calcium accumulate and form coatings, so-called plaques. As a result, the arteries’ walls lose their mobility and thicken. Both lead to obstruction of blood flow and less oxygen and nutrients supply to surrounding tissues and organs.
Strokes and heart attacks are the best-known consequences of arteriosclerosis because sensitive organs such as the heart and brain need a lot of oxygen.
Arteries and Veins: The blood vessel system in the body is made up of arteries and veins. Arteries (arteries) transmit blood away from the heart and supply organs and muscles with oxygen and other nutrients. The veins take along the deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Veins are not affected by arteriosclerosis.
Which organs are affected by atherosclerosis?
All organs and parts of the body can be affected by arteriosclerosis because they are powered by blood vessels. Some examples.
- Arteriosclerosis of the coronary vessels – this leads to the so-called coronary heart disease and ultimately to heart attack
- Arteriosclerosis of the carotid and cerebral arteries: The brain does not receive enough oxygen, and a stroke is imminent if the vessels are completely blocked
- Arteriosclerosis in the legs and pelvis: Circulatory disturbance leads to the so-called peripheral arterial occlusive disease
- Arteriosclerosis in the renal arteries: undernourishment of the kidneys leads to kidney weakness or kidney failure
How does artery blockage develop?
How exactly artery blockage symptoms happens is still being researched. However, what is certain is that the inner layer of the artery wall is damaged, and the plaques of fat, protein, and calcium can settle more easily.
Experts assume that inflammatory processes could damage the walls of the arteries. Currently, three possibilities are being discussed.
- Theory of injury. A mechanical injury to the arterial wall (for example, due to high blood pressure) calls immune cells into action. Together with metabolic products (such as fats), they form the basis of the plaques.
- Cholesterol theory. Those affected have too much “bad” LDL cholesterol in their blood.LDL cholesterol is accumulated on the artery walls and causes inflammation.
- Infection theory. Toxins damage the artery wall from viruses, bacteria or immune reactions. Here, too, inflammatory reactions cause plaque formation.
In Artery Blockage Symptoms, the inner walls of the affected arteries are permanently inflamed. As a result, more and more plaques accumulate in the inner wall and constrict it so that the flow of blood is increasingly disturbed.
In addition, the muscle cells of the middle artery wall can migrate through the damaged inner wall and, together with calcium deposits, thicken and harden the artery walls.
The plaques may eventually completely block the artery, or individual plaques may break off and block a blood vessel elsewhere (embolism).
Symptoms: how does arteriosclerosis manifest itself?
Arteriosclerosis develops insidiously – often, the first symptoms appear only after many years, usually in old age. How the disease displays itself depends on which vessels in the body are affected. For example, the following symptoms are possible:
- Affected coronary vessels: chest pain on the left side, heart attack;
- Carotid artery affected: stroke with paralysis or speech disorders;
- Kidney vessels affected: high blood pressure, kidney failure;
- Affected arteries of the pelvis and legs: pain when walking, later also possible from lying down (pain at rest). He probably feels cold and numbness in his legs. Men can suffer from impotence.
- Chest tightness, feeling of fullness or “biting” (constricting) pain in the center of the chest that lasts for minutes (usually more than 20) without interruption and response to drugs such as nitrates taken sublingually.
- Pain that outspreads beyond the chest to the shoulder, arm, back or even to the teeth and jaw.
- Chest pain episodes increase in frequency (number of episodes per day) and intensity.
- Prolonged pain in the upper abdomen and the “pit of the stomach.”
- Nausea and vomit.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feeling faint.
What are the causes of arteriosclerosis?
Arteriosclerosis can affect anyone, but people with unhealthy lifestyles are at risk.
Experts name various risk factors for the development of Artery Blockage Symptoms, which they divide into 1st and 2nd order risk factors according to their importance. Particularly decisive risk factors, i.e., 1st order risk factors, include:
- Too high levels of triglycerides or cholesterol (fat in the blood)
- High blood pressure
A person with two 1st order risk factors is already four times more at risk of atherosclerosis than a person without risk factors.
The 2nd order risk factors are:
- Lack of movement
But several other factors also favor arteriosclerosis, such as age, male sex, a hereditary predisposition, and an unhealthy, high-fat diet.
What are the complications of a heart attack?
The complications of a myocardial infarction depend on the extent of the damage to the heart and are of various types.
Changes in heart rhythm (arrhythmias). If a heart attack damages the heart muscle, electrical “short-circuits” can form, leading to abnormal heart rhythms, some of which are dangerous or even fatal (e.g., ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, etc.).
1. Heart failure
Heart failure can be temporary (acute) and resolve after the heart is “stunned” by the infarction and recovers within days or weeks. Still, it can also become a chronic condition following extensive and permanent heart damage caused by the heart attack. ‘heart attack.
In extreme cases, cardiogenic shock can occur in which the damage to the heart muscle is so extensive that it undermines the ability to generate pressure and supply all the body’s other tissues with blood, oxygen, and nutrients; often fatal.
A heart attack can tear arteries of heart muscle weakened by a heart attack, often with fatal consequences.
3. Heart valve problems
Heart valves can lose their functional capacity due to the damage caused by a heart attack. The situations that arise are often threatening to survival.
However, not all people with a heart attack have the same symptoms or experience them with the same intensity. Many heart attacks are not as theatrical as those depicted in the collective imagination, and even some heart attacks can develop without the subject having any symptoms (“silent” or “unrecognized” heart attack). Then again, the more symptoms (protracted oppressive chest pain) and signs (sweating, shaking, etc.) you feel, the more feasible you will have an ongoing heart attack.