Artery disease (atherosclerosis) can be a sneaky condition. Plaque silently and slowly begins to build up and block blood flow. And often you don’t have any obvious signs you have clogged arteries until you’ve reached a danger zone.
Your coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. But a buildup of plaque can narrow or even block them altogether. And when oxygen-starved heart tissues die that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
The carotid arteries supply your brain with oxygen-infused blood. Blockages in these arteries can cause a stroke.
And hardening of the arteries that supply your arms, legs and pelvis with oxygenated blood can lead to a heart attack or stroke too.
Learn to recognize clues to clogged arteries
But while clogged arteries can be hard to spot at first, they do often leave behind some telltale clues. And if you learn to spot them, you could head off a disaster.
Following are five strange clues that you could have clogged arteries.
1. Trouble with erections:
Guys if you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, or ED, it can a sign the arteries in your pelvis are partially blocked.
But if you’ve been having trouble getting, or maintaining, an erection don’t panic. Because while this can be a red flag for clogged arteries, it typically shows up early enough that you can talk with your doctor and turns things around.
2. Lower back pain:
If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, there’s a good chance you have clogged arteries. In fact, experts say even younger folks with low back pain are at risk, with 10 percent of Americans having advanced abdominal blockages by age 20.
Reduced blood flow to the area can lead to a weakening of the discs between your vertebrae. And that can cause herniated disks and pinched nerves.
3. Hair loss:
Studies have revealed a link between baldness and clogged coronary arteries. In one large study of over 36,000 men, extreme balding at the front and crown of the head was often a clue there was a buildup of plaque in the arteries leading to their hearts. Men with this pattern or balding were 69 percent more likely to have a heart attack than their hairier peers were.
Sometimes hair loss is simply hair loss. But it’s worth checking with your doctor.
4. Calf, hip or thigh:
When arteries that feed blood to your legs become blocked, it can trigger pain in your calves, hips or thighs after walking (claudication). This condition, known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), can be serious. In extreme cases, it can even lead to the loss of a limb.
If you’ve experienced unexplained leg pain after walking talk with your doctor about checking for PAD. The initial test involves simply feeling for pulses and checking your blood pressure.
5. An ear crease:
Easily the most bizarre clue, it turns out a diagonal crease in your earlobe—one that runs from your ear canal down to the lower edge of the lobe—could be a clue to clogged arteries. Some experts think it might be the result of plaque buildup causing poor circulation.
And while there has been some debate about this clue, the numbers hold up. In fact, in a study using CT scans to detect hidden artery disease, the crease turned out to be a significant predictor of clogged arteries. And the link remained even after the researchers factored in other risks such as smoking and age.
Don’t let clogged arteries take you by surprise. Be on the lookout for these five hidden signs your arteries may be blocked.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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