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Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease

Symptoms Affecting the Brain

Arteries in the brain are most affected by two types of cardiovascular disease: buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) and arterial embolism, which is when a blood clot gets stuck in a small artery within the brain. If the arteries that supply your brain are affected by either of these conditions, you may have symptoms of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (also referred to as a TIA or "mini-stroke").
Specific stroke and TIA symptoms can include:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, difficulty walking, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the United States.

Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease in the Legs, Pelvis, or Arms

If the arteries that supply your legs, pelvis, or arms are affected by cardiovascular disease, you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). These symptoms can include:
  • Claudication, which is a pain, ache, or cramp in the muscles. It occurs during exercise and improves with rest.
  • Cold or numb feeling in the feet or toes, especially at night.

What About Other Symptoms?

With more than 60 conditions, it is not possible to list all of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease in this article. However, if you are interested in specific symptoms for certain conditions, you can look them up in the eMedTV archives.
(Click Cardiovascular Disease Types, and then click the specific condition.)
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