What are the risk factors and symptoms of atherosclerosis?
Factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis include:
- A family history of early heart disease
- An unhealthy diet
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Smoking and other tobacco use
Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected:
- Atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain – you may have symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face.
- Atherosclerosis in the arteries in your arms and legs – you may have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, such as leg pain when walking.
- Atherosclerosis in your heart arteries – you may have symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure.
- Atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your kidneys – you develop high blood pressure or kidney failure.