Your arteries are the highly flexible blood vessels which transport oxygen-rich blood around your body. Sadly, they are prone to plaque accumulation, or atherosclerosis. This condition leads to a wide range of serious health issues, such as stroke and heart attacks. Here are the signs and symptoms to look for, as early detection is critical.
You May Have Risk Factors for Artery Disease
Artery disease can affect the coronary arteries which feed the heart muscle. This is known as coronary artery disease. Artery disease in general may impact the descending aorta and iliac arteries in the lower extremities.
Additionally, people may develop artery disease in the large carotid arteries located on both sides of the neck. These arteries feed the brain.
As artery disease develops, a person may show no appreciable signs whatsoever. However, certain health and lifestyle risk factors can alert you and your doctor that you’re at risk for developing it.
These risk factors include:
- Prolonged stress
- High cholesterol levels
- Family history of artery disease
- Lack of routine exercise
Also, because artery disease develops over time, age is a risk factor as well.
Symptoms of Artery Disease
If you have very mild artery disease, you may not have any obvious symptoms. However, as the plaque build-up worsens, you may have cardiac symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath upon even mild exertion
- Chest discomfort (angina pain)
Blockages in the peripheral arteries can cause symptoms of:
- Leg pain and cramps
- Problems with ambulation
- Cold feet and hands
- Numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Leg and foot ulcers
- Shortness of breath
Finally, disease of the carotid arteries produces:
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Speech slurring
- Cognitive impairments and memory problems
- Fainting and dizziness
Can Artery Disease Be Detected Early?
Again, assessment of risk factors is key to revealing artery disease. Your primary care provider will order blood tests to assess cholesterol levels and to check for diabetes. Tests such as the echocardiogram, EKG, angiography, and cardiac stress test can assess the function of the coronary arteries specifically. They also test “patency”, which refers to how open a blood vessel is.
The most common assessments to check patency of the carotid arteries are doppler ultrasonography and angiography. The ankle-brachial test is ultrasonography which compares the blood pressure in the arm with the blood pressure in the leg. A significant difference indicates blockages. This easy test can confirm peripheral artery disease.
Coronary Artery Disease Treatment Near Me at Intercoastal Medical Group
At Intercoastal Medical Group, our board-certified cardiologists know exactly how to treat and prevent artery disease. They deliver the risk assessment and diagnostics you need to stay ahead of artery disease, especially coronary artery disease. Our cardiologists are available at our Lakewood Ranch II location in Bradenton, at Cattleridge Medical Building II in Sarasota, and at Beneva Cardiology in Sarasota. Call us to book a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians or request your visit here.
We are here to help you understand your health risks and to make a plan for your best overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!