Artery disease (atherosclerosis) usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. Some people may have signs and symptoms of the disease, but this depends on which arteries are affected.
Here are five silent signs that you should be taking seriously.
- Leg pain or numbness
If you experience pain or numbness in one or both of your legs when you walk you might be suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the legs. Typically the pain will present itself in one or both calves when you walk or exercise and is relieved when you rest your legs for a few minutes.
- Shortness of breath
If you develop a blocked artery in your heart it may lead to a shortness of breath which you may experience doing every day activities such as walking up a flight of stairs. If your heart isn’t receiving an adequate supply of blood, fluid can build up on your lungs and cause significant breathing problems.
- Erectile dysfunction
If the arteries in your penis are clogged then you’ll have trouble getting it up and keeping it up, as the blood flow needed to maintain an erection will be struggling to get through. Though this may feel like an embarrassing condition to go to the doctor about, it’s important that you do as it could save your life.
- Creased earlobes
Strange as it may sound, a creased earlobe could be a sign of clogged arteries. The crease will be angled from diagonally from the outside edge of the ear canal down to the lower edge of the earlobe, and will be a recent development. It’s thought that the crease might be due to poor circulation, including in the arteries in the heart.
- Feeling dizzy
If you have a blocked artery within your heart, properly oxygenated blood will be prevented from reaching the brain. If this occurs, you may experience dizziness, light headedness, fainting or, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis it’s important that you visit your GP.