If you are experiencing chest pain, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath, you might have developed clogged arteries. If you do not seek treatment, this issue can cause you to have a heart attack or stroke. At the Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, Virginia, we can diagnose clogged arteries and other cardiovascular illnesses with an angiogram. Read on to learn more about this minimally invasive test.
What Are the Warning Signs of Clogged Arteries?
An artery is a type of blood vessel that transports blood to your legs, arms, and other areas of your body. When your arteries are healthy, your blood will flow smoothly throughout your body.
Unfortunately, plaque can build up in your arteries and damage your blood flow. There are a number of warning signs that may indicate that you have developed clogged arteries.
Transient Ischemic Attacks
Clogged arteries can cause you to experience a transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA. This type of attack is an indication that your clogged arteries may cause you to develop a stroke in the future.
TIAs can cause you to slur your words or develop weak, numb sensations on one side of your body. In addition, you might have difficulty moving one of your legs or arms. You could also have partial vision losses.
Chest pain, also known as angina, can be a warning sign that plaque has built up in the arteries near your heart. This pain may indicate that your heart is receiving an insufficient amount of blood.
Feet and Leg Issues
When the arteries in your feet, legs, and other extremities become clogged, you may develop a number of issues. For example, you might feel pain in your legs or develop cold feet. In addition, injuries on your feet can take a long time to heal.
In addition to developing feet and leg issues, clogged arteries can cause you to experience dizzy, weak feelings, and heart palpitations. You may also sweat, feel nauseated, or have difficulty breathing.
Addressing Your Symptoms
If you are experiencing chest pain, cold feet, or other warning signs of clogged arteries, you should not ignore your symptoms. Receiving a diagnosis will allow you to improve your health and reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack.
At the Commonwealth Vein Center, we can use a variety of tests to analyze your arteries and determine the cause of your symptoms. For example, an angiogram is a minimally invasive test that allows us to diagnose many different cardiovascular illnesses.
How Does an Angiogram Work?
This diagnostic test uses specialized technology to create images of your arteries and heart. We will begin your angiogram by gently inserting a small tube into one of your arteries. This tube, which is called a catheter, will allow us to transmit a specialized contrast dye into your artery.
Usually, we cannot view your blood vessels on an X-ray. However, this specialized dye will allow us to create X-ray images of your arteries. Watching the dye move through your blood vessels will allow us to create detailed images of any damage that exists in your heart or arteries. We will use these images to determine whether you have clogged blood vessels or other health issues.
What Medical Issues Can This Test Be Used to Diagnose?
We can use this imaging test to diagnose a variety of cardiovascular conditions.
Coronary atherosclerosis, also called coronary artery disease, occurs when plaque, fat, and other materials collect on the walls of the arteries that deliver blood to your heart. As these substances build up in your arteries, your blood vessels will become narrower. As a result, your blood flow can become completely or partially blocked.
An aneurysm develops when your blood pressure causes the wall of one of your arteries to bulge. Aneurysms often form in arteries in your stomach and chest. If you do not treat an aneurysm, you might have a stroke or develop bleeding issues and blood clots.
A pulmonary embolism is an arterial blockage that harms the blood flow in your lungs. In many cases, this issue develops when blood clots block the flow of blood through one or more of the arteries in your lungs.
In addition to the illnesses described above, we can use this imaging test to diagnose heart issues that you’ve had since birth. We can also use this test to analyze your arteries in preparation for a medical procedure.
How Should I Prepare for My Test?
You’ll have an initial meeting with us before we perform your imaging test. During this meeting, you should tell us about any prescription medications, non-prescription medications, and supplements that you are taking, as these substances could alter your body’s response to your test. Under some circumstances, we may instruct you to stop taking certain medications before your test.
In addition to changing your medication schedule, you might have to receive a blood test before your appointment. This test will allow us to learn more about the health of your liver and your blood’s ability to clot. In addition, we will probably tell you not to consume any food or liquids for a couple of hours before your test.
What Should I Expect During My Imaging Test?
We will perform your test in our comfortable catheter laboratory. We will begin your treatment by cleaning your skin and injecting a local anesthetic called lidocaine into your anticipated access point. Your lidocaine injection will prevent you from feeling uncomfortable during the next step of your treatment.
Examining Your Arteries
After your anticipated insertion site has become numb, we will place a catheter into one of your arteries. This catheter will allow us to inject contrast dye into your artery.
It’s common to place this catheter into the brachial artery that appears in your elbow, the femoral artery that is located in your groin, or the radial artery that is in your wrist. We will move the catheter through your artery and take detailed X-ray images of your vascular system.
Recovering From Your Test
You will not have a lengthy recovery period after your test is complete. Once we have finished analyzing your arteries, we will take out the catheter and put pressure on your insertion site for about fifteen minutes.
After this process is complete, we will instruct you to rest your body for a couple of hours. After you have finished resting, you will be able to go back to your usual routine.
Can I Use Other Tests to Diagnose Clogged Arteries and Other Cardiovascular Issues?
In addition to angiograms, we can use a variety of other methods to diagnose your cardiovascular issues. For instance, analyzing the blood pressure in various parts of your body can help us determine whether you have clogged arteries or other cardiovascular illnesses.
In addition, we may order a blood test to check your cholesterol levels. Further, we may advise you to receive a CT scan, chest X-ray, ultrasound, or other imaging test.
What Factors Increase My Chances of Developing Cardiovascular Disease?
Clogged arteries and other cardiovascular issues are very common, and more than eighteen million people in the United States have coronary artery disease. Although anyone can develop cardiovascular disease, certain characteristics and conditions will increase a person’s chances of suffering from clogged arteries and other vascular issues.
Age and Gender
Although men and women can develop clogged arteries, men are especially likely to experience heart attacks. In addition, men often have heart attacks at younger ages than women do.
Further, as people of both genders get older, they will become more likely to develop clogged arteries or have a heart attack, stroke, or other vascular problems.
If your close relatives had cardiovascular issues, you have a higher chance of experiencing similar problems during your lifetime. In particular, your risk will be increased if your parents or other relatives developed these diseases at an early age.
If you have a family history of cardiovascular illnesses, you should consider receiving early screenings from a medical professional. Receiving an angiogram or other diagnostic test is a good way to detect illnesses before they develop into more serious conditions.
Having diabetes will put extra stress on your blood vessels and enhance your risk of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems. This risk is higher when your diabetes is uncontrolled. Managing your diabetes under the supervision of a trained medical professional will improve the condition of your arteries.
Your lifestyle decisions impact the health of your cardiovascular system. In particular, being overweight will enhance your risk of experiencing clogged arteries.
Smoking cigarettes and eating an unbalanced diet will also harm your arteries. In addition, failing to engage in physical activity will weaken your body and enhance your chances of developing cardiovascular issues.
How Can I Treat My Cardiovascular Illness?
We can use a range of medications and other techniques to treat your clogged arteries and other cardiovascular conditions.
Certain medications can improve the condition of your arteries by decreasing your cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition, aspirin can be used to decrease your chances of developing blood clots in your arteries.
After you have received your diagnosis, we will provide you with more details about the many medications that can help you control your cardiovascular illness.
Living a healthy, balanced life is a great way to strengthen your vascular system. For example, following a regular exercise routine will improve your vascular system and help you maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, you should eat a healthy diet that contains lots of healthy fats, protein, vegetables and fruit, and low amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and transfats.
If your cardiovascular issues are severe, we may advise you to receive a medical procedure. An angioplasty can be used to widen your arteries. During an angioplasty, we will place a specialized device into the clogged section of your artery. This device will open your artery and enhance your blood flow.
In addition, we can use stents to improve the condition of your clogged arteries. During this procedure, we will put a very small tube into one of your arteries. This tube will prevent your artery from closing and reduce your chances of developing more serious medical issues in the future.
Improve Your Health
Chest pain, discomfort in your legs, and heart palpitations can be warnings signs of clogged arteries or other serious health conditions. An angiogram is a quick, minimally invasive test that allows us to see inside your heart and arteries. This test will allow us to diagnose your vascular illness and design a suitable treatment plan for you. To learn more about the benefits of this imaging test, contact us at the Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, Virginia.