Understanding hardening of the arteries symptoms will lead to the condition being attended to before it worsens. Hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis is easier to manage while still in the early stage, so taking action at the first sign of the disease may not only keep it from progressing, it can possibly lead to its reversal.
Over a period of time, the interior lining of the arterial walls becomes damaged from smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and sugar levels, among others. As this happens, substances that are being carried by the blood, such as fat, cholesterol, and calcium, find it difficult to penetrate through the arterial walls. As such, these substances gather in the arterial walls, forming plaque which hardens and narrows the arteries, and thus develops a condition known as atherosclerosis.
With atherosclerosis, either the carotid arteries, the peripheral arteries or the coronary arteries are affected, and the hardening of the arteries symptoms depend on which arteries are involved.
The carotid arteries are the source of oxygen-rich blood to your brain. If these arteries are hardened and narrowed you may experience signs and symptoms that usually manifest when you are having a stroke, and these include numbness or weakness in the face or one side of your body, speech difficulties, comprehension problems, vision problems, dizziness, and imbalance.
The peripheral arteries, meanwhile, are responsible for supplying blood to your extremities, in particular, the legs and arms, and the pelvis. If the blockage occurs in the peripheral arteries, there may be pain and numbness, aggravated by walking or performing activities where you have to use your legs.
If the coronary arteries are narrowed, the blood that carries oxygen to the heart is reduced, thus the individual may experience chest pain that may radiate to the arms, shoulders, neck, back or jaw. Usually the pain becomes worse when you are performing some kind of activity. There may also be shortness of breath and arrhythmia.
It’s rather unfortunate, but there are cases wherein atherosclerosis presents with no classic signs and symptoms at all until there is complete blockage of the artery and the individual has already gone into a heart attack. That is why preventing a heart attack would take prudence on your part. If you think you are at risk for atherosclerosis, like maybe you are a chain smoker, obese, or have diabetes, have a sample of your blood taken on a regular basis to monitor your blood cholesterol levels. Higher than normal LDL (bad cholesterol) levels suggest that plaque may be developing in the walls of your artery, in which case you may need to submit yourself for a thorough evaluation to be sure that the plaque buildup is not yet on the dangerous level. Otherwise, it may take more than just dietary and lifestyle modifications to reverse atherosclerosis.