Can Anywhere Else Be Attacked?

Atherosclerosis not only affects the arteries that supply blood to the heart and to the brain, it can also affect the vessels that supply blood to the other parts of the body, including legs, intestines, and even erectile tissues.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

When blood flow is blocked to the legs, this condition is known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Clogging of these arteries leads to discomfort in the legs that can become more severe as time goes on. You are much more likely to have a heart attack or stroke if you have this condition.

Warning signs and symptoms of PAD include:

  • Cramping, heaviness, fatigue, or aching of the buttocks, thighs, or calves when walking

  • Leg pain that occurs when you walk uphill, carry heavy loads, or walk quickly

  • Aching of the foot that worsens at night and is relieved by standing up or by allowing the foot to hang off the edge of the bed

  • Leg pain that stops when you stand still or rest

If allowed to progress, peripheral artery disease can lead to lack of blood flow to the feet. The feet, like any other body part, cannot survive without blood flow. If not corrected in time, the only treatment is amputation.

Erectile Dysfunction and Intestinal Atherosclerosis

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is often associated with atherosclerotic plaque buildup. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 5 percent of forty-year-old men and 15–25 percent of sixty-five-year-old men experience erectile dysfunction. In addition, when smoking is part of the picture, the odds of erectile dysfunction increase even further. Male smokers have approximately a 30 percent higher risk for erectile dysfunction when compared with nonsmokers. However, just as hardening of the arteries is not inevitable with aging, neither is the loss of potency. Maintaining health of the heart and circulatory system can also help maintain this aspect of youthful vigor and vitality.

Erectile dysfunction affects 15–30 million American men, depending on exactly how it is defined. Approximately 70 percent of all cases are due to diseases such as atherosclerosis, vascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, neurological disease, and chronic alcoholism.

Even the intestines’ blood flow can become blocked, causing intense stomach pains. Sadly, this disease is incredibly hard to diagnose, as there are so many other causes of stomach pain. By the time an intestinal stroke is discovered, death is the usual outcome. Once again, the best method of treating this disease is avoidance through prevention.

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