Exercise with Blocked Arteries: What You Need to Know

Exercise with Blocked Arteries: What You Need to Know

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center


Regular exercise has been associated with numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, when it comes to individuals with blocked arteries, exercise remains a cause for concern. When someone has blocked arteries (carotid artery stenosis), it means that their blood flow is restricted due to the buildup of plaque or fatty deposits, increasing the risk of stroke from exercising.

Can You Exercise with Blocked Arteries?

Generally, exercises are recommended for individuals to ensure healthy blood circulation, thus preventing heart problems. However, according to Physics of Fluids, exercises can increase heart rate, which could increase the risk of stroke in people with carotid artery stenosis. The study revealed that people with moderate blockage may experience stress in the blocked area, causing the stenosis to burst. If this blockage reaches the brain, they can experience an ischemic stroke. Nevertheless, exercise is beneficial for individuals without blockage or with mild blockage.

Factors Enhancing Stroke Risk in Individuals Exercising with Blocked Arteries

Here are some factors that make individuals with blocked arteries vulnerable to stroke:

  • Atherosclerosis

    It refers to the gradual buildup of plaque, cholesterol, or fat along the inner walls of the arteries, making them narrow. This reduces blood flow to the heart and brain, causing blood clots that result in a stroke.

  • Hypertension

    High blood pressure puts extra strain on the arteries, making them more prone to damage and the development of atherosclerosis. Additionally, it can weaken blood vessel walls, making them more susceptible to rupture or the formation of blood clots, both of which can trigger a stroke.

  • Smoking

    Tobacco contains chemicals that can damage blood vessel walls and promote the formation of blood clots. In individuals with blocked arteries, smoking further encourages the narrowing of the arteries and accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, thus causing a stroke.

  • Diabetes

    Elevated blood sugar levels can damage the inner lining of blood vessels, causing plaque, thus increasing stroke risks.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle and Poor Diet

    Lack of regular exercise and a diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium and low in fruits and vegetables can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure. These factors increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis and the occurrence of stroke subsequently.

Signs of Stroke to Watch Out for While Exercising

While exercising with a blocked artery can be risky, it is important to understand the warning signs that may indicate a potential stroke, which include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Vision problems
  • Facial drooping
  • Dizziness and confusion

Why Should You Consult Healthcare Professionals Before Exercising with Blocked Arteries?

If you want to exercise with blocked arteries, you should consult your doctor because they will:

  • Evaluate your current health status and tailor exercise regimens accordingly.
  • Identify potential risks you may encounter while exercising and advise how to act on them.
  • Advice on safe exercises to improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Instruct you on the warning signs to watch out for during exercising.
  • Schedule follow-ups to assess the effectiveness of exercises and customize workout regimens accordingly.

Safe Exercise Practices for Individuals with Blocked Arteries

  • Aerobic Activities - Engaging in brisk walking, swimming, or cycling can help to improve heart function, strengthen muscles, and enhance blood circulation.
  • Resistance Training - Strength training exercises, using appropriate resistance or lightweight, can help improve overall muscle strength and support cardiovascular health.
  • Flexibility Workouts - Stretching and balancing can help you stay flexible and minimize joint pain, cramps, and other muscular issues.

Get Personalized Recommendations for Exercise with Blocked Arteries at NAVC

At North Atlanta Vascular Clinic, we have trained and skilled stroke specialists who can tailor plans for exercise with blocked arteries, minimizing the risk of injuries and health complications. Schedule an appointment today to get started on an effective and safe exercise regimen.


Content Source: Physics of Fluids


North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic is a vascular surgery center located in Suwanee, Cumming, Alpharetta, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our vein disease specialists offer a comprehensive examination that includes a physical examination, review of your symptoms, and discussion of your medical history. We use advanced venography techniques and provide effective treatment for several health conditions like DVT, Spider Veins, Leg Cramps, MTS, and more. Contact us to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for all your vascular diseases.

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