Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries that is caused by the accumulation of plaque. Arteries are blood vessels that transport oxygen and other nutrients between your heart and the rest of your body.
As you age the cholesterol, fats and calcium build up in your arteries , and eventually form plaque. The plaque build-up hinders blood to move through your arterial veins. The plaque buildup can occur throughout your body, such as around your legs, your heart as well as the brain and kidneys.
It could cause the loss of oxygen and blood in different tissues of your body. Plaque fragments can split, creating the formation of a blood clot. If not treated, atherosclerosis could result in heart attack stroke, heart attack, or failure, as well as other diseases.
Atherosclerosis is a frequent problem that is associated with the aging process. The condition can be treated and a variety of effective treatments are available.
Did you have any idea?
Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis. It is also known as hardening of arteries. The words “atherosclerosis” or “arteriosclerosis” are employed interchangeably, however, they are two distinct conditions.
The most common symptoms of atherosclerosis won’t appear until there’s a blockage. The most common symptoms are:
Angina or chest pain
discomfort in your arm, leg, or any other area that is blocked arterial
tightness in the buttocks when walking
The confusion can occur if the blockage causes a decrease in circulation to your brain
Loss of sensory or motor functions on one part of your body, which happens when the blockage causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the brain.
leg muscles weakening due to a insufficient circulation
It’s also essential to understand the signs for heart attacks and strokes. Both of them can be caused by atherosclerosis, and need immediate medical attention.
The signs for a heart attack are:
chest discomfort or pain
shoulder pain back, neck, jaw and arms
nausea or vomiting
A sense of imminent doom
The signs of stroke are:
Numbness or weakness of the limbs, face or the face.
trouble understanding speech
sudden, severe headache
Stroke and heart attack are medical emergency situations. Contact 911 or the emergency services in your area and visit a an emergency room at the hospital as fast as you can when you begin to experience symptoms of an attack on your heart or stroke.
When plaque forms and the arteries become brittle and inflamed blood has problems getting throughout the entire body. The result is that your tissues and organs from receiving oxygenated blood they require to function.
The following are some of the common reasons for the hardening of arterial walls:
Cholesterol can be described as a waxy yellow substance that is naturally found in your body and in some foods you consume.
If cholesterol levels within your bloodstream are excessively high, it may block your blood vessels. This forms a hard plaque that blocks or restricts the flow of blood to the heart and other organs.
It is essential to follow the right diet. According to the American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source recommends following an overall healthy diet that emphasizes:
A wide variety of vegetables and fruits
dairy products that are low in fat
Fish and poultry, with or with skins
legumes and nuts
Non-tropical vegetable oils like sunflower or olive oil
A few other tips for a healthy diet:
Avoid drinks and foods that contain added sugar, for example, sugar-sweetened drinks, candy and sweets. According to the AHA recommendsTrusted Source not greater than six teaspoons, or 100 calories in sugar daily for women in general and not over 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories a day for men.
Do not eat foods high in sodium. You should aim to consume less than 2,300 milligrams sodiumTrusted Source daily. Ideally, you’ll take in no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Beware of foods that are with a high content of unhealthy fats, like trans fats. Replace these with unsaturated fats which are healthier for your health. If you’re looking to reduce your blood cholesterol levels cut down on saturated fats to a maximum of 5-6 percent of the total calories from Trusted Source. If someone eats daily 2,000 calories this is about thirteen grams saturated fat.
As you get older your blood vessels and the heart are more prone to pump blood and absorb it. Your arteries could stiffen and lose their elastic and more prone to plaque accumulation.
The doctor will conduct an examination of your body when you are suffering from arteriosclerosis. They’ll be looking for:
A weak pulse
an aneurysmor unusual bulging, or widening an artery as a result of weakening in the wall of an arterial
Slow wound healing could be a sign of a slowed blood flow
A noise, or a howling sound blood makes when it moves through the artery that is blocked
A cardiologist will take a listen to your heartbeat to determine if there are any unusual sound. Your doctor may recommend further tests if they suspect you could be suffering from atherosclerosis.
Tests may include:
an in-person blood test to measure your cholesterol levels
A Doppler ultrasound that uses sound waves to make an image of the artery. It also will show if there’s obstruction
An ankle-brachial index seeks out a blockage in your legs or your arms by comparing blood pressure of each leg
A magnetic resonance angiography, or a computed-tomography angiography which produce images of major arteries of your body.
A cardiac angiogram is a form of chest X-ray, which is taken following the arteries of your heart are filled with radioactive dye
An Electrocardiogram (ECG is also called an EKG) that analyzes the electrical activity of your heart, to identify areas with decreased blood flow
A stress test or exercise tolerance testthat will monitor the heart rate as well as blood pressure when you train on stationary bikes or a treadmill
The treatment involves altering your routine to lower the amount of cholesterol and fat you consume. It is possible to exercise more regularly to strengthen the health of your heart as well as your blood vessels.
Your physician may suggest lifestyle modifications as the first option for treatment. You might also require other medical procedures like surgical procedures or medication.
The use of medications can prevent atherosclerosis from getting worse.
Treatment options for atherosclerosis include:
cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins
angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which may lower blood pressure
beta-blockers that “rest” the heart.
Antiplatelet medicines like aspirin, to stop blood clotting and blockage of your blood vessels.
Aspirin is particularly efficient for people who have an history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke and heart attack. A plan to take aspirin with your physician could reduce your chance of experiencing another health problem in the event that you already suffer from atherosclerosis.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently issued updated guidelines regarding the use of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease. These guidelines could be useful to discuss with your physician.
If you don’t have any prior history of cardiovascular atherosclerosis take aspirin only to prevent bleeding in cases where your risk of bleeding is minimal and your risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is very high. Make sure you discuss any aspirin treatment with your doctor prior to taking it.
If the symptoms are intense or if muscle and skin tissue is in danger Surgery may be required.
The possible surgeries to treat atherosclerosis are:
bypass surgery is the use of a vessel that is located within your body, or a tube made of synthetic material to redirect blood flow to your narrowed or blocked artery
thrombolytic therapy, that is breaking up a blood clot injecting the drug into the artery that is affected.
Percutaneous coronary angioplasty and angioplasty that involves the use of balloons and catheters to increase the size of your artery. occasionally inserting a stent in order to ensure that the artery stays open
atherectomy is the process of removing plaque from the arteries using a catheter equipped with sharp blades on the other end.
endarterectomy, which is the procedure of surgically removing fat deposits from the artery
Numerous factors can put at risk of developing atherosclerosis. Certain risk factors can be altered however others cannot.
Family family history
If atherosclerosis is a part of the family of yours, then you could be at risk of hardening of the arterial walls. This condition can be passed down through the generations and also suffer from other heart-related conditions.
Exercise is not enough
Regular exercise is beneficial for heart health. It helps keep your heart muscle healthy and increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body.
The lack of exercise can raise your chance of contracting a range of health conditions, including heart disease.
High blood pressure
The high blood pressure could cause damage to blood vessels, weakening them in certain regions. Cholesterol and other components in your blood can reduce blood vessel flexibility as time passes.
Tobacco products that are smoked can cause damage to your heart and blood vessels.
People who suffer from diabetes have a higher risk of coronary artery diseases.
Lifestyle modifications can help stop and manage atherosclerosis, specifically for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
The most beneficial lifestyle changes are:
eating a healthy , balanced diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Avoiding fatty foods
Include fish in your diet every week in place of red meat
receiving at least at least 75 minutes vigorous or moderately exercise per week
Quitting smoking if you’re a smoker
keeping a moderate and healthy weight
treating atherosclerosis-related conditions including hypertension, high cholesterol obesity, sleep apnea and the condition known as diabetes
There may be improvement in your health after treatment, however, it may require some time. The effectiveness of your treatment will be contingent on:
The severity and extent of your health issue
the speed at which it was dealt with
whether any other organs were affected
The arteries’ hardening cannot be reversed. Yet, rectifying the root causes and making healthy diet and lifestyle changes will help to slow the process or even stop it from getting worse.
You should work closely with your physician to implement the right lifestyle adjustments. They’ll guide you to the appropriate medications to treat your condition and prevent complications.
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