Blocked arteries can cause serious problems if they prevent blood from reaching vital parts of the body such as the heart or brain. However, the symptoms of blocked arteries aren’t always obvious until they cause a life-threatening issue such as a heart attack or stroke. Sometimes the only way to know if your arteries are clogged is to undergo a screening test such as a carotid Doppler ultrasound, which can check for blockages that might put you at risk of a stroke.
Why Do Arteries Get Clogged?
Clogged arteries occur because of a condition known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fatty material from the blood sticks to the inside of the arteries. Over time, enough of this material can build up that it starts to affect the flow of blood. The effects of this can depend on the location of the blockage. Clogged arteries can be particularly dangerous when they affect blood supplying the heart or brain as these organs need continuous supplies of oxygen to keep functioning properly.
Signs of Clogged Arteries
Clogged arteries don’t always cause any obvious symptoms so the problem is often missed unless it causes a medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke. Sometimes there can be warning signs that an artery is blocked before it causes a serious event. Angina occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the heart. It can cause symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, heart palpitations and sweating, which may be triggered by physical activity. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) or mini-strokes can occur when there is a blockage affecting the brain. The symptoms can include temporary weakness on one side of your body, loss of vision in one eye, or slurred speech. Angina can be a sign that you are at risk of a heart attack while a TIA is a warning that you are at risk of a major stroke, so it is vital to take these symptoms seriously and see a doctor.
Tests for Clogged Arteries
Cardiac screening can reveal whether you are at risk of clogged arteries by testing for issues such as high cholesterol that can increase the chances of fatty deposits accumulating in your blood vessels. If you are at high risk, you’re experiencing issues such as angina, or you’ve already had a stroke or heart attack, then there are some tests that can look inside your arteries to check for blockages. At the Cardiac Screen clinic, we can use ultrasounds to look for signs of blockages. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of your heart that can help us to assess the risk of heart disease while a carotid Doppler ultrasound allows us to measure the flow of blood through the arteries that supply your brain. The carotid Doppler scan is used to evaluate the risk of a stroke. If any issues are detected during these tests, treatment may help to improve the blood flow through your clogged arteries and reduce the risks.
Good nutrition is essential for a healthy immune system so it’s vital to eat well when viruses are circulating. Eating a balanced diet will help to keep you and your immune system healthy:
- Include a range of different fruits and vegetables in your diet to get plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Try to eat fruits and vegetables of different colours as they contain different kinds of nutrients
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of wholegrains and protein
- Avoid unhealthy fatty and sugary foods
The best way to get the nutrition you need is through a healthy diet, but supplements can make up for anything that is lacking in your food.
A multivitamin supplement can top up any vitamins you’re missing out on, but there are some vitamins that could be particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Vitamin D is the nutrient that people in the UK are most likely to lack, especially when we aren’t spending much time outside as sunshine helps our bodies to process it
- Vitamin K helps to regulate blood clotting so some scientists believe it might help protect against COVID-19 complications, although the evidence is limited
- Vitamin C is important for our immune systems so it can be a good idea to take a supplement if you’re not getting enough from your diet
Make sure to read the labels on nutritional supplements and don’t take more than one supplement containing the same nutrient. Too much of a particular vitamin can be harmful.
Other ways to boost your immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Getting regular exercise can improve your general health as well as your immune system
- Making sure you are sleeping well can keep your immune system at its best
- Managing your stress levels can prevent your mood from weakening your immune system
Stress is a common feature of modern life for people of all ages but it can be more common among younger adults. Every young adult is different but there are some common sources of stress that tend to have a greater impact on this age group.
Continue reading Why Do Young Adults Get More Stressed?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a common gynaecological condition that can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a cure for PCOS but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can do to improve your symptoms.
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Heart screening can help you to make the right choices about your health by identifying the risk factors that are affecting you. Although it’s not possible to predict exactly what will happen in the future, the results of your cardiac screening can give you some valuable insights.
Continue reading What Can a Heart Screening Predict?
Winter can be a tough time of year for many of us but it can be particularly harsh for older people. It is important for older people and their families or carers to be aware of these risks and what can be done to protect elderly health in winter. There are many steps you can take to protect yourself or to look after your older friend or relative.
Continue reading How to Protect the Elderly During Cold Winter Months?
A stroke happens when there is a blockage in the blood vessels that supply part of your brain. The effects can depend on how long the blockage lasts and which part of the brain is affected. It’s important to be aware of the signs of a stroke so that you can seek help right away if you or someone else is affected. Strokes can be very serious or even life threatening to it is vital to get help as soon as possible.
Continue reading Symptoms of a Stroke
If you’re visiting Cardiac Screen for gynaecology screening you might be wondering what to expect during the examination. Many women feel anxious about gynaecological check-ups or worry that they might need to have painful tests. Finding out a bit more about gynaecology screening should reassure you that it will be just as safe and simple as any other kind of check-up.
Continue reading What is Involved in Gynaecology Screening?
Mental health is an issue that has become much more visible in the media in recent years. We hear a lot more about it now than we did in the past. Does this mean that mental health issues are becoming more common? Continue reading Is Mental Health Illness on the Rise?