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What are some symptoms of blocked arteries?

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Quick Answer

Blocked coronary arteries cause heart-related symptoms, such as a squeezing pain in the chest, neck, arms and upper torso, as MedlinePlus explains. Clogged peripheral arteries reduce blood circulation to the limbs, causing pain or numbness in the arms, legs and pelvis. Blocked carotid arteries affect the brain and trigger stroke symptoms, including facial or limb weakness, difficulty speaking, impaired thinking, and loss of balance.

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Full Answer

Healthy arteries have smooth interior walls that allow blood and oxygen to circulate throughout the body, according to WebMD. Cholesterol, calcium, fat and other particles in the blood form into plaque, which can collect on blood vessel walls and make arteries too narrow for normal blood flow. Plaque buildup leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, which causes progressive damage to the inner cell walls of blood vessels.

Signs and symptoms of blocked arteries often go unnoticed until an individual suffers a serious medical condition, as WebMD reports. Excessive plaque buildup in coronary arteries leads to heart disease and may trigger a severe heart attack, while blocked peripheral artery diseases cut off blood and oxygen to the lower body, increasing the risk of leg or feet infections, such as gangrene. Carotid artery disease slows oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain, causing neurological issues. Before a stroke, some patients experience mini strokes, known as transient ischemic attacks.

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