What Are Symptoms of Clogged Arteries?

jamesbenet/E+/Getty Images

The symptoms of clogged arteries, or arteriosclerosis, depend on where in the body the arteries are clogged and the severity of the blockage, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Wherever it occurs, symptoms usually do not appear until the arteries are significantly clogged so as to impede blood flow.

Symptoms of arteriosclerosis that occur in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, called coronary heart disease, are angina, shortness of breath and arrhythmias, according to the NHLB. Angina is described by WebMD as pressure, aching, heaviness, burning, numbness, fullness, squeezing or pain, usually in the chest, where it can be mistaken for heartburn, and occasionally in the left shoulder, arms, neck, back or jaw. Angina gets worse with physical activity. Arrhythmias are problems with the rhythm or rate of heartbeats, according to NHLB.

Symptoms of clogged arteries leading to the brain include sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs or face, or on one side of the body; difficulty speaking or understanding speech; confusion; trouble seeing; trouble breathing; dizziness; trouble walking, including loss of balance or coordination and falling; loss of consciousness; and a sudden and severe headache, as stated by the NHLB. Symptoms of clogged peripheral arteries, which supply blood to the arms, legs and pelvis, include numbness, pain and infections. Clogged arteries leading to the kidneys can cause kidney disease, which may have no symptoms until it progresses, with eventual symptoms of tiredness, changes in frequency of urination, loss of appetite, nausea, swelling of the hands or feet, itchiness, numbness or trouble concentrating.