The possible symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the arteries affected by the disease, but can include angina, shortness of breath, sudden weakness and confusion, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Some patients don’t experience symptoms at all.
Many patients don’t realize they have the condition until they have an abdominal aorta aneurysm or heart attack. The main symptom of atherosclerosis when the coronary arteries are involved is angina, according to NHLBI. This causes discomfort and pressure in the chest. When the carotid arteries are involved, symptoms include weakness, paralysis, confusion and trouble breathing. Symptoms for the peripheral arteries include numbness and pain. If the renal arteries are involved, the patient experiences swelling, itchiness and numbness, and loss of appetite.
Atherosclerosis is one of the primary causes of abdominal aortic aneurysm, notes the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. This conditions develops in the blood vessels of the body, including any of the arteries. It occurs when there is plaque build-up in the blood vessels.
Possible symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm include clammy skin, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate and shock, according to MedlinePlus. Not all patients experience symptoms. If they do, there are two types of surgery available, including a traditional open repair and an endovascular stent grafting.