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Signs and Symptoms

People don’t usually feel atherosclerosis early on. That’s because it takes time for the arteries to become narrowed enough to cause poor or disrupted blood flow. As plaque builds up in the arteries, symptoms may develop gradually.

If an artery – especially a major artery – becomes narrowed or blocked suddenly, you may have symptoms such as chest pain or a heart attack or stroke

Symptoms Vary

The symptoms you experience will depend on which arteries are affected.

If there is narrowing in the arteries supplying blood to your… You might have:
Heart (coronary arteries) ·         Chest or arm pain, pressure or tightness (angina)
·         Shortness of breath
·         Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmias)
·         Feeling that you might faint
·         Stomach upset or vomiting
This is also called atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Without treatment, it might lead to a heart attack.
Brain (carotid arteries in your neck) ·         Weakness or fainting
·         Numbness in the face, arms or legs
·         Confusion
·         Dizziness
·         Sudden and severe headache
·         Trouble speaking
Without treatment, this might lead to a stroke or mini stroke (transient ischemic attack)
Legs, arms or pelvis (peripheral) ·         Pain in the calves or buttock after walking
·         Numbness in the feet or toes
This is also called peripheral artery disease. Without treatment, it might lead to poor circulation, slow healing of wounds or skin injuries and internal bleeding (abdominal aneurysm).
Kidneys ·         Loss of appetite
·         Swelling (edema) in your hands or feet
·         Nausea
·         Fatigue
Without treatment, this might lead to kidney disease or kidney failure.


  • Last Edited 09/07/2022