Signs and Symptoms
There may be no symptoms before narrowed arteries have caused significant damage to your health. That’s why prevention and early detection are important. Watch for symptoms of the following:
If you experience unexplained loss of balance, speech, or vision; or the sudden onset of tingling, numbness, or paralysis in a limb.
If the pain lasts, gets worse, occurs more often, or occurs during rest; this could mean you’re about to have a heart attack.
Dull chest pain (angina) or simply a feeling of tightness or heavy pressure. It’s usually in the center of the chest but can spread into the arms an jaw. With rest, angina goes away in 30 seconds to five minutes.
Peripheral vascular disease:
1. Weakness, muscle fatigue, or pain in the buttocks or legs during exertion, usually in the calves while walking.
2. Cold feet.
3. Discolored skin, sores that won’t heal, and sudden, sharp pains in the legs or feet during rest.
What to Do Now
There is no quick remedy. But long-term changes in lifestyle, including those described below, may slow the progress of the disease or even reverse it.
When to Call a Doctor
1. If you feel crushing pain in your chest. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting sweating, shortness of breath, weakness or intense feelings of anxiety. You may be having a heart attack.
2. If you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease such as pain in the legs or feet.
3. If you’ve had chest pain before, but this time it doesn’t go away in 10 to 15 minutes.
4. If you’ve had chest pain before, but it’s getting worse or you have it while resting.
5. If you have any symptoms of a stroke, such as loss of speech or balance, or numbness.
How to Prevent It
1. You can help prevent the problem from developing, slow its progress if it has begun, or perhaps even reverse it by taking the following steps:
2. Include lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Go easy on meats, diary products, and processed foods.
3. If you have high blood pressure, take steps to get it under control.
4. Exercise regularly. But check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you are at risk for narrowed arteries.
5. Don’t smoke. If you do, quit. Smokers have a much higher risk of narrowed arteries than do nonsmokers.
6. Have your cholesterol level checked, and if it’s too high (more than 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood), work with your doctor to lower it.
7. If you are overweight, take steps to lose the extra pounds.