A heart attack can sometimes sneak up on you without warning. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is one condition that may lead to a heart attack. This disease occurs when damage to the inner layer of arteries is caused by conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or inflammation. When this happens, fatty deposits can build up at the site of injury, narrowing the passageway and blocking the delivery of oxygen to organs. If these deposits, called plaques, break away and travel through the bloodstream, they can cause a heart attack or stroke. Mild atherosclerosis is often symptomless. However, once arteries become blocked and organs are deprived of oxygen, you may notice symptoms.
9. Shortness of Breath
Difficulty breathing or becoming winded while performing mild tasks may be a sign that your heart is having to work harder than usual. Clogged or hardened arteries block blood flow and cause a strain on your heart. If you notice that activities that used to be simple are suddenly leaving you short of breath, you may be suffering from atherosclerosis. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include diabetes, obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise. Many of these risk factors also can contribute to shortness of breath.
8. Lower Back Pain
Back pain and degenerative conditions of the spine can be linked to atherosclerosis. If blood flow is blocked to the arteries of the lower back lumbar region, you may experience back pain. Studies suggest that decreased blood flow to this region and the lower spine can lead to lower back pain and to disc degeneration. The discs between the vertebrae of your spinal column work as shock absorbers. Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the discs of the spinal column suffer wear and tear. Decreased blood supply to this area can contribute to irreparable damage to the discs.