Arteries are blood vessels, which carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. These blood vessels go to your brain and to the tips of your toes.
In addition, healthy arteries have smooth inner walls, so that blood flows through them with ease. But, you may experience clogged arteries due to an accumulation of a substance known as plaque on the inner walls of your arteries. Moreover, the plaque build-up in your arteries can decrease or even block blood flow.
Clogged arteries can significantly elevate your risk of stroke, heart attack, and death. Due to these dangers, you should be aware of the culprits of artery plaque and treatments in order to prevent serious consequences.
Your Feet Can Tell You a Lot about Your Heart Health:
Your feet may be a window into your heart health. Namely, the hardening of the arteries caused by plaque build-up, known as atherosclerosis, can occur throughout your body, not just near your heart. In case atherosclerosis occurs in the arteries that lead to your feet, then it could be a sign of a higher likelihood of heart disease.
Furthermore, the plaque buildup in your arteries that leads to your extremities is called PAD (peripheral artery disease). PAD can result in discomfort in your feet and legs and prevent you from performing your everyday activities.
The Cleveland Clinic notes that some PAD symptoms include leg discomfort and pain, inability to walk long distances, and getting tired easily after exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people do not experience any PAD symptoms, whereas others experience muscle pain and leg cramps, especially in the calves.
Additionally, other symptoms of this health problem include a change in leg color, leg numbness, shiny skin over the area, changes in hair growth on the feet or legs, one foot or lower leg feeling colder than the other, a weak or absent pulse in the legs or feet, and foot or leg pain while resting (in severe cases).
That’s not all, severe PAD may also progress to limb loss. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a physician should do a simple test of pulses in your feet in order to check for signs of the disease in case you experience any PAD symptoms, have a family history of heart disease or PAD, or have a history of smoking. It is actually a simple test that could be done during a routine examination. Moreover, an ankle-brachial index can also be done. It uses an ultrasound wave and blood pressure cuffs to detect a pulse in the region.
Even though detecting PAD can tell you a lot about your cardiovascular health, the Cleveland Clinic notes that healthy individuals that don’t have a family history of heart disease and don’t smoke don’t have to be screened because the test can sometimes give a false positive. But, in case you think you have the disease, consult a health professional about your PAD risk.
Even if you experience mild leg pain, it is advisable to consult a health professional because PAD itself may result in serious complications, such as the loss of a leg or foot.