Ischemia means you have inadequate arterial blood flow to an area in your body. It’s your arteries that circulate vital oxygen and nutrients around. So, an ischemia can cause organ or tissue damage to any area the restricted vessel serves with an insufficient blood supply.
One cause for an ischemia is a blood clot. Blood clots, whether a thrombi or an emboli, can firmly attach to a blood vessel and block the flow of blood through that vessel. Some other causes of ischemia include:
There are various types of ischemia, usually named for the area affected.
Myocardial ischemia means the blood flow to the heart muscle is limited by the blockage of a coronary artery. And a sudden and severe blockage is what leads to a heart attack. Cardiac ischemia may also cause angina and arrhythmia.
Typical symptoms of a myocardial ischemia are:
But you could experience a silent ischemia wherein you have no symptoms.
Some major risk factors for myocardial ischemia include:
- ongoing stress
- high cholesterol
- alcohol, drug abuse
- previous heart attack
- lack of physical activity
- coronary artery disease
Another type of ischemia can occur in your brain’s arteries known as a cerebral ischemia. It’s this type of restricted blood flow that causes most strokes. And transient ischemic attack, or TIAs, are caused by only a temporary deficiency of blood supply to your brain.
Some symptoms involved with cerebral ischemia are:
- difficulty speaking
- vision impairment, blindness
- coordination, body movement problems
Ischemia can effect your intestines as well. This type is known as intestinal ischemia and its hallmark symptom is abdominal pain. An intestinal type ischemia may cause additional symptoms like:
Hepatic ischemia is another type of ischemia for which your liver is not receiving enough blood. Frequently the cause is hypotension and any health condition that leads to low blood pressure can result in hepatic ischemia. Examples of these health conditions are:
Damage to your liver cells caused by hepatic ischemia will not likely cause you symptoms.
Critical limb ischemia is a serious decrease in blood flow to your extremities, hands, feet and legs. Symptoms of this ischemia type is severe pain, skin ulcers or skin sores. Critical limb ischemia is often involved with severe peripheral arterial disease.
Testicular ischemia, aka testicular torsion, is a blood supply issue associated with your testicle and causes testicular pain symptoms.