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What Causes Blocked Arteries

What Causes Blocked Arteries

A blockage in the arteries can be a debilitating condition, wherein blood supply to the heart is cut off. This can prove detrimental to the entire body system. To prevent this disease from taking a bad turn, it is essential to diagnose and treat it at the earliest....
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
The arteries are the blood vessels which carry oxygenated blood from the heart to every other part of the body. The coronary arteries supply the heart with oxygenated blood. Due to an unhealthy lifestyle and improper eating habits, the arteries tend to get clogged. This blocking of arteries can result in the individual suffering from heart disease.
Causes
Arterial blockage is caused by a number of reasons, some of which may be indicative of some underlying cardiovascular disorder. A blocked artery can arise when fatty material, plaque and calcium begin to accumulate in the inner lining of the arteries. It can also occur due to the presence of blood clots in the arteries, which can narrow them considerably. The narrowing of the arteries can hamper proper blood circulation and oxygen supply to the heart. Due to the lack of oxygen, the cardiac muscles may constrict and this condition can lead to cardiac arrest.
  • An individual suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure is at a higher risk of experiencing blocked arteries. This is due to the fact that an abnormal increase in the blood pressure can result in coronary heart disease.
  • Clogging of the arteries is caused due to over accumulation of fat deposits in the blood vessels. The body is unable to break down all the fat molecules which causes the LDL cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels.
  • Blocked arteries in legs is a result of plaque in the legs. The arteries can get blocked due to overuse of the leg muscles. This condition may exhibit symptoms like difficulty in walking, formation of ulcers and sores and weakening of the muscles. In severe cases, it can lead to the loss of blood circulation and the leg may need to be amputated.
  • Some other causes of this life-threatening condition are alcoholism, smoking and health disorders like diabetes. Obese people are at a higher risk of experiencing blocked arteries, in comparison to others.
Signs
The symptoms of arterial blockage in the heart can be due to some underlying health disorder, which may pose a threat to life, if not diagnosed and treated on time. The symptoms in women and men are almost the same which are given below that may be an indicative of some inherent cardiovascular disease.
  • Lack of oxygenated blood supply to the heart can lead to the improper functioning of the heart muscles. The individual may suffer from angina, which also causes pain and discomfort around the chest region.
  • Another symptom of arterial blockage is rapid heartbeats or arrhythmia, which is experienced during physical activity or stress. It can also result in chest pain which may radiate to the back, neck and arms.
  • Shortness of breath and restlessness are the other most reported symptoms in people suffering from blocked arteries. This is caused due to the deficiency of oxygen in the body and also due to fluid accumulation in the alveoli of the lungs.
  • Blocked arteries in neck are a result of accumulation of calcium deposits and fat. Other symptoms include tingling sensation in the neck, a feeling of weakness, pain while moving the neck and difficulty in speaking etc.
  • Some other signs of arterial blockage include profuse sweating, generalized body weakness, discomfort in the chest, and extreme fatigue.
Treatment Options
Before getting to the root cause of blocked arteries, the health care provider will perform a test to check for the intensity of the disorder. Some other tests like blood tests, physical exam and angiography may also be conducted. Treatment for this condition may include administering anticoagulants and other medications to dissolve blood clots, fat deposits, etc.
Calcium channel blockers and beta blockers reduce the obstruction of the blood vessels. Surgical measures like angioplasty and bypass surgery may be required in case the blood vessels are completely damaged and need replacement. Apart from these treatment methods, the doctor will advise the patient to take a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and fluids and also follow a routine exercise regimen to speed up the recovery process.
Failure to diagnose and treat this disorder in time can lead to peripheral artery disease. It is always better to take proper precautionary measures and avoid complications that may become life-threatening and lead to fatality. A blocked artery in heart can have unpleasant complications, hence updating your health care provider is a must. Stay healthy!