As plaque builds up in arteries, it slowly constricts the flow of blood. If left unchecked, a stroke or heart attack may be the end result. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that many people have blockages formed in their arteries during their 20s.
High cholesterol and foods high in saturated fat are only part of the problem. A lack of inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles are also to blame for clogged arteries, as well as genetic factors. There are some signs you should know that may be telling you your arteries are clogged.
1. Leg pain. If you notice leg pain or your legs seem to tire easily when walking, the Cleveland Clinic says this could be a sign of clogged arteries.
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2. Shortness of breath. If the arteries that feed the coronary arteries are clogged, WebMD reports you might notice shortness of breath when walking or working.
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3. Severe headaches. NIH MedlinePlus notes that if you start to have severe, unexplained headaches, they could be a sign of clogged arteries.
4. Erectile dysfunction. Surprisingly, erectile dysfunction may be a sign, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, as blood flow to the penis is cut off because of the clog in the arteries in the legs.
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5. Cold feet. If a clogged artery is in the lower extremity, WebMD reports you may notice your feet are colder than normal.
6. Lower back pain. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, chronic lower back pain is often an early warning sign of clogged arteries.
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7. Lack of balance. If the carotid artery is being clogged, NIH MedlinePlus states that dizziness and a lack of balance may be noticed.
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8. Jaw tightness. The symptoms for women are often different than men. According to Everyday Health, women may notice a "feeling of tightness in the jaw."
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9. Fatigue. Another warning sign for women, notes Everyday Health, is experiencing unexplained fatigue.
By knowing the warning signs, you may be able to prevent a stroke or heart attack. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your doctor to have them checked out.