What are the symptoms of ischemia?

Although pain is a common, ischemia may occur without any symptoms. Generally, symptoms depend on the location of the ischemia.

Common symptoms of ischemia of the heart

Symptoms of cardiac ischemia include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, which may radiate to the back, arm, shoulder, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Limitations of physical abilities
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Palpitations or irregular heart rhythms
  • Profuse sweating
  • Shortness of breath

Common symptoms of ischemia of the brain

Symptoms of ischemia of the brain include:

  • Abnormal pupil size or nonreactivity to light
  • Balance problems, difficulty walking, and falls
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading
  • Dizziness
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Headache
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Loss of vision or changes in vision
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Vision problems (double vision, blurriness, loss of visual field, sudden blindness)
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of other types of ischemia

Symptoms from ischemia in other parts of the body can include:

  • Abdominal discomfort when eating
  • Bloody stool (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Diarrhea
  • Leg pain with walking or climbing stairs
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Non-healing sores
  • Pain
  • Skin changes

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, ischemia can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Abnormal pupil size or nonreactivity to light
  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, palpitations
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Garbled or slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Hallucinations
  • Paralysis or inability to move a body part
  • Respiratory or breathing problems such as shortness of breath
  • Seizure
  • Severe abdominal pain or headache
  • Sudden change in vision, loss of vision
  • Vomiting blood or bloody stool

What is ischemia?

Ischemia is any reduction in blood flow resulting in decreased oxygen and nutrient supplies to a tissue. Ischemia may be reversible, in which case the affected tissue will recover if blood flow is restored, or it may be irreversible, resulting in tissue death. Ischemia can also be acute, due to a sudden reduction in blood flow, or chronic, due to slowly decreasing blood flow.

Isch... Read more about ischemiaintroduction


What causes ischemia?

Ischemia is caused by a decrease in blood supply to a tissue or organ. Blood flow can be blocked by a clot, an embolus, or constriction of an artery. It can occur due to gradual thickening of the artery wall and narrowing of the artery, as in atherosclerosis. Trauma can also disrupt blood flow.

What are the risk factors for ischemia?

A number of factors increase the... Read more about ischemiacauses


How is ischemia treated?

Treatment of ischemia begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests and to promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing ischemia.

The goal of treating ischemia is to restore blood flow and prevent further damage. Surgery may be needed to remove dead tissue or repair... Read more about ischemiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation