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Blocked artery (leg)


The blood that is pumped through the arteries is essential for the proper functioning of the body. This is why when an artery is blocked, the entire body is threatened. One of the main causes of clogged arteries is arteritis. It is an inflammation of the arterial wall that mainly affects the legs. Arteries can also become clogged with the formation of an atherosclerotic plaque due to high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes. However, the arteries can sometimes also clog abruptly due to a blood clot, known as an emboli that completely blocks an artery. Blood flow to the area in question is suspended, threatening the survival of this area: this is an emergency called acute ischemia.


The person suffering from acute ischemia of the leg will feel a sudden pain like a cramp preventing him from walking or sometimes even from moving the limb.


The combined circumstances of pain onset and location help the diagnosis. The leg or part of the leg will become cold, almost frozen at an advanced stage, white, and lose all sensitivity. A doctor should be consulted.


If the doctor confirms the diagnosis of acute ischemia, treatment is fast and consists of unblocking the artery in question, either by destroying the clot directly, either by sucking out the blood clot, or by trying to increase the diameter of the artery with a balloon. Afterwards, further medical treatment should be implemented, abolishing or at least decreasing all risk factors that can cause clogged arteries of the leg (cholesterol, tobacco and alcohol, controlling blood pressure and diabetes). Patients are advised to walk as much as possible and can be prescribed vasodilator drugs (which dilate blood vessels) and antiplatelet agents (which prevent the formation of atheroma plaques).


It is relatively easy to prevent clogged arteries in the legs:
  • avoiding tobacco use;
  • avoiding high cholesterol;
  • healthy and varied eating;
  • playing sports on a regular basis;
  • trying to reduce stress in everyday life;
  • receiving treatment for possible diabetes
  • receiving treatment for possible high blood pressure;
  • regularly consulting your doctor if you have a history of arteritis in your family.

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