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What Exactly Is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis refers to a narrowing of arteries caused by the accumulation of plaque. Arteries are blood vessels that transport oxygen and other nutrients through your body from the heart the rest of your body.
As you age as you age, cholesterol, fats and calcium build up within your arteries and create plaque. The plaque build-up causes blood to move through your arterial veins. This can happen throughout your body, such as around your legs, heart and brain as well as kidneys and the kidneys.

It can cause an insufficient supply of oxygen and blood in different tissues of your body. The plaque fragments may also be broken, leading to the formation of blood clots. If not treated, atherosclerosis could cause heart attacks stroke, heart attack, or failure, as well as other diseases.

Arteriosclerosis is a frequent problem that is associated with age. The condition can be treated and numerous effective treatment options are available.

Did you have any idea?

Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries. The words “atherosclerosis” or “arteriosclerosis” are often employed interchangeably, however, they are two distinct conditions.

The most common symptoms of atherosclerosis won’t manifest until there is a blockage. The most common symptoms are:

Angina or chest pain
the arm, leg, or any other area that is blocked arterial
tightness in the buttocks when walking
breathlessness
fatigue
the brain is confused, and this happens when 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 weakness because of a insufficient circulation

It’s also essential to understand the signs that indicate a heart attack or stroke. Both are caused by atherosclerosis, and require medical attention immediately.

The signs for a heart attack consist of:

chest discomfort or pain
shoulder pain and neck jaw, and back
Abdominal discomfort
breathlessness
sweating
lightheadedness
nausea or vomiting
the feeling of imminent doom

The signs of stroke include:

Numbness or weakness in the limbs, face or the face.
trouble speaking
trouble understanding speech
issues with vision
Balance loss
sudden, severe headache

Stroke and heart attack are medical emergency situations. Contact 911 or the emergency services in your area and go to the an emergency room at the hospital as fast as you can if you notice symptoms of stroke or heart attack.

When plaque forms and the arteries get hard and inflamed, blood will have problems getting across them and to other parts of your body. The result is that your tissues and organs from receiving oxygenated blood they require to function.

The following are the most common reasons for the hardening of blood vessels:

High cholesterol

Cholesterol can be described as a waxy yellow substance that is naturally present in the human body and in some foods you consume.

If cholesterol levels present in the blood of your excessively high, it could block your blood vessels. This forms a hard plaque that blocks or restricts the flow of blood to your heart and other organs.

Diet

It’s essential to consume the right diet. According to the American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source recommends following an overall healthy eating pattern that emphasizes:

A wide variety of vegetables and fruits
Whole grains
dairy products that are low in fat
fish and poultry, but 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, sweetened drinks, candy, and sweets. It is recommended by the AHA recommendsTrusted Source not over 6 teaspoons of sugar or 100 calories a day for women in general and not greater than nine 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 sodium daily. Ideally, you should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Beware of foods that are that are high in unhealthy fats for example trans fats. Replace them 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 the Trusted Source. If you consume daily 2,000 calories it’s around thirteen grams saturated fat.

Aging

As you get older your blood vessels and the heart are more prone to pump blood and absorb it. The arteries can stiffen and lose their elastic which makes them more vulnerable to plaque accumulation.

The doctor will conduct an examination of your body in the event that you exhibit signs of atherosclerosis. They’ll look for:

A pulse that is weak
an aneurysmor irregular bulging and widening an artery as a result of weakening in the wall of an arterial
slow healing of wounds, which could be a sign of a slowed blood flow
A rumble, or howling sound blood makes when it moves through the artery that is blocked

A cardiologist will examine your heart to determine if there are unusual sound. The doctor may order additional tests if they suspect that you might be suffering from atherosclerosis.

Tests may consist of:

an in-person blood test to measure your cholesterol levels
A Doppler ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce an image of the artery, which will show if there’s obstruction
An ankle-brachial index seeks out a blockage in your legs or arms by comparing blood pressure of each leg
Magnetic resonance angiography is also known as a computed-tomography angiography that creates images of the major arteries of your body.
A cardiac angiogram is a form of chest X-ray, which is performed after the heart’s arteries are filled with radioactive dye
An Electrocardiogram (ECG is also called an EKG) is a test that analyzes the electrical activity of your heart, to identify areas with decreased blood flow
A stress test, also known as an the exercise tolerance test, that will monitor the heart rate as well as blood pressure when you run on stationary bikes or a treadmill

The treatment requires you to alter your way of life to reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat you consume. It is possible to exercise more regularly to increase the health of your heart as well as your blood vessels.

Your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes as the initial method of treatment. There may be further medical treatments like surgical procedures or medication.

Medicines

Medicines can stop atherosclerosis from advancing.

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 medications like aspirin, which prevent blood clotting and blockage of your arterial

Aspirin is particularly beneficial for those with an atherosclerotic history of cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke and heart attack. A regimen of aspirin discussed with your physician may reduce the risk of another health issue in the event that you already suffer from atherosclerosis.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recently issued updated guidelines for using aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease. These guidelines might be helpful to discuss with your physician.

If you do not have a previous history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease take aspirin only to prevent bleeding in cases where your bleeding risk is low and your risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is extremely high. Be sure to discuss your aspirin regimen with your physician prior to taking it.

Surgery

If the symptoms are extreme or if muscle or skin tissue is at risk Surgery may be required.

Some of the possible procedures for treating atherosclerosis are:

bypass surgery is using a artery from within your body, or a tube made of synthetic material to channel blood to your narrowed or blocked artery
thrombolytic therapy is the process of the dissolution of a blood clot through injecting a medication into the affected artery
Percutaneous coronary angioplasty and angioplasty is the process of using balloons and catheters to increase the size of your artery. often putting in a stent to ensure that the artery stays open
atherectomy is the process of removing plaque from your arteries using a catheter that has sharp blades at the other end.
endarterectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of fatty deposits surgically from the artery

Numerous factors can put your at risk for developing atherosclerosis. Certain risk factors can be altered but others aren’t.

Family heritage

If atherosclerosis is a part of families, you could be at risk of hardening of the blood vessels. It is possible to inherit this condition and also suffer from other heart-related issues.

Inactivity and lack of exercise

Regular exercise is beneficial for heart health. It helps keep your heart muscle robust and helps increase the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body.

The lack of exercise can raise the risk of developing a variety of health conditions, including heart disease.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure may harm your blood vessels, creating a weakening in specific regions. Cholesterol and other components in your blood can reduce the flexibility and flexibility of your blood vessels with time.

Smoking

Tobacco products that are smoked can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.

Diabetes

Diabetes sufferers are more likely to be victims of coronary artery diseases.

Lifestyle changes can aid in reduce and manage atherosclerosis, specifically for those with type 2 diabetes.

The most beneficial lifestyle changes are:

eating a balanced diet that’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Beware of foods that are high in fats
Consider adding fish to your diet two times per week, instead of red meat
getting at minimum at least 75 minutes vigorous or moderately exercise per week
quit smoking if you’re smoker
Maintaining a healthy and moderate weight
managing stress
managing conditions that are associated with atherosclerosis treating conditions associated with atherosclerosis, like high cholesterol, hypertension, sleep apnea, obesity and treating diabetes

You might see improvements in your health after treatment, but it could require some time. The effectiveness of your treatment will be contingent on:

how severe your illness
the speed at which it was dealt with
whether any other organs were affected

The arteries’ calcification cannot be reversed. Yet, rectifying the root causes and making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can slow the process down or stop it from becoming worse.

Be sure to work with your doctor to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments. They’ll guide you to the right medications to manage your condition and prevent complications.