Clogged blood vessels endanger your life in more ways than one. Firstly, blood supply to your vital organs is reduced; thereby reducing their ability to function at peak capacity. Secondly, they place your heart under excessive stress as it needs to pump harder to supply blood to all parts of the body — increasing the risks of a heart attack, or a stroke. Fatty plaques build up in the blood vessels to clog them. The condition is known as atherosclerosis. When your doctor suspects blocked arteries and/or veins, you will be advised to undergo an angiogram to identify the worst affected site or sites. Where medication and lifestyle modifications fail to reverse atherosclerosis, your doctor might recommend angioplasty. It is the preferred treatment option for cardiologists to restore proper blood flow, as it is less invasive than open heart surgery, and carries fewer risks. A thin tube is threaded through a blood vessel in the groin or the arm to the occluded coronary artery, i.e. the affected site. The balloon at the end of the tube is inflated when it reaches the blockage to push the plaque back against the wall of the blood vessel, and allow the blood to flow unhindered. Unless you suffer from other diseases which would make your doctors more cautious about your recovery; you can expect to go home the day after the procedure, and get back to work in a week or so.
Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors