Atherosclerosis Symptoms depend on which arteries are badly clogged
There are usually no symptoms until one or more arteries are so clogged with plaque that blood flow is severely reduced.
This reduced flow of blood and oxygen to some part of the body (such as the heart) is called ischemia and may cause pain or discomfort.
Some people have no symptoms until a blood clot forms and completely blocks an already narrowed artery and causes a heart attack or stroke.
The symptoms you have will depend on which arteries are badly clogged and what part of the body is affected by the reduced flow of blood.
If arteries taking blood to your heart muscle are affected, you have coronary artery disease (CAD). You may have chest pain called angina that happens when you exert yourself and goes away when you rest. You could also have a heart attack.
If arteries taking blood to your brain are affected, you have cerebrovascular disease. You could have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke.
If arteries taking blood to your legs are affected, you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). You may have pain in the calf or thigh muscle called intermittent claudication that happens when you walk. This kind of pain goes away when you stop and rest.
All of these conditions are serious and should not be ignored. Arteries taking blood to the intestines, the kidneys, or other organs can also become clogged by plaque. This can sometimes lead to a medical emergency similar to a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis can also cause erectile dysfunction in men.
In this section
What is Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis Symptoms – You are on this page
Atherosclerosis Risk Factors
What is the Plaque That Causes Atherosclerosis
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