Atherosclerosis is sneaky. It’s a process that starts early in life, progressing silently. By the time symptoms occur, atherosclerosis is advanced and represents a serious problem.
There are three serious diseases caused by atherosclerosis. Each has its own warning signs:
(1) Coronary artery disease,
(2) Cerebrovascular disease,
(3) Peripheral arterial disease.
In Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) the legs usually show symptoms of poor circulation first. Pain in the calf muscles when walking (claudication) is the most common symptom. Poor wound healing or decreased pulses in the feet are other signs.
Diseases caused by atherosclerosis are the most common cause of death in the U.S. Since atherosclerosis is so widespread and so dangerous, you might ask: Why don’t we test everyone with the best tests we have?
The one test that can directly show blocked arteries is called angiography. Angiography is an “invasive” test: