Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the buildup of lipids, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls. The accumulation is known as plaque. Atherosclerosis can constrict the arteries and obstruct blood flow. The plaque can also rupture, resulting in a blood clot.

While atherosclerosis is frequently associated with heart issues, it can impact arteries throughout the body. You can get atherosclerosis cured. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help stop atherosclerosis.

Causes of atherosclerosis:

Atherosclerosis is a condition that worsens over time and can start as early as childhood. The precise reason is not known. It could begin with harm or injury to an artery’s inner layer. The following things could harm;

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood triglyceride levels, a kind of lipid
  • chewing or smoking tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Obesity
  • Unknown causes of inflammation or inflammation brought on by conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, psoriasis, or arthritis.

Blood cells and other substances may congregate around the location of the lesion and accumulate in the artery’s inner lining when an artery’s inner wall has been injured.

On the inside of the cardiac arteries, lipids, cholesterol, and other chemicals build up over time. The accumulation is known as plaque. The arteries may narrow due to plaque, preventing blood flow.

Symptoms of atherosclerosis:

Signs of mild atherosclerosis are typically nonexistent.

Typically, atherosclerosis symptoms do not appear until an artery has become so constricted or blocked that it cannot adequately provide blood to organs and tissues. A blood clot can occasionally entirely stop the flow of blood. A heart attack or stroke may occur if the clot fragments.

Atherosclerosis can cause mild to severe symptoms depending on which arteries are compromised.

Typical signs include;

  • Angina or chest discomfort
  • Suffering from artery discomfort in your arm, leg, and other areas
  • While walking, I have buttock cramps
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fatigue
  • Perplexity results from a blockage that impairs your brain’s blood flow.
  • If the blockage affects blood flow to your brain, you may lose motor or sensory function on one side of your body.
  • Your legs’ muscles will weaken because of insufficient blood flow.

Understanding the signs of a heart attack and a stroke is also critical. These two conditions, which can be brought on by atherosclerosis, must be treated immediately.

Heart attack signs and symptoms include;

  • Chest discomfort or agony
  • Shoulder, back, neck, arm, and jaw discomfort
  • Abdomen ache
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness or vomiting
  • A feeling of impending disaster

Stroke signs and symptoms include;

  • Facial or limb numbness or weakness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty comprehending speech
  • Vision issues
  • Decline in balance
  • An abrupt, bad headache

A stroke or a heart attack is a medical emergency.

When to see a doctor:

Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you believe you have atherosclerosis. Pay alert to any signs of decreased blood flow, such as leg pain, numbness, or chest pain (angina).

Atherosclerosis can be stopped in its tracks by early diagnosis and treatment, which can also save a stroke, a heart attack, or any other medical emergencies.

Coronary atherosclerosis:

Atherosclerosis, often known as artery hardening, can gradually constrict the arteries all over your body.

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is the term used to describe atherosclerosis that affects the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle. That is the leading cause of death in America. The majority of such fatalities result from blood clot-induced heart attacks.

Without your awareness, atherosclerosis can cause fatal blockages. Understanding atherosclerosis is essential because everyone is at risk for coronary artery disease.

Treatment of atherosclerosis:

Once you experience a blockage, it usually persists. Plaques can, however, be slowed down or stopped with medicine and lifestyle modifications. If you treat them harshly, they might even somewhat contract.

1. Lifestyle modification

By addressing the risk factors, atherosclerosis can be slowed or prevented. That entails a balanced diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking. Although these modifications won’t clear obstructions, they have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

2. Medications:

The following drugs are used to treat atherosclerosis;

  • Medications that decrease cholesterol, such as statins
  • Blood pressure-lowering ACE medications inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme
  • Beta-blockers allow the heart to “relax.”
  • Aspirin and other antiplatelet medications can stop blood from clotting and blocking your arteries.

Aspirin can benefit those with atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. If you already have atherosclerosis, an aspirin program discussed with your doctor may be able to reduce your chance of experiencing another health incident.

New recommendations on the use of aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease were recently announced by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Using these recommendations could be helpful when talking to your doctor.

Use aspirin as a preventive drug only if your risk of bleeding is low and your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is high if you have no history of the condition. Always consult with your doctor before starting an aspirin program.

3. Surgeries:

Surgery can be required if the symptoms are terrible or if muscle or skin tissue is in jeopardy. Your doctor may utilize less intrusive methods to circumvent atherosclerotic blockages;

Angiography and stenting:

Your doctor places a small tube into an artery in your arm or leg to reach damaged arteries. On a live X-ray screen, obstructions can be seen. A clogged artery can frequently be opened with stenting and angioplasty (using a catheter with a balloon tip). Stenting aids in symptom relief but does not stop heart attacks.

Bypass surgery:

Your doctor often uses a healthy blood vessel from your leg or chest to circumvent a blocked segment.

Endarterectomy:

To eliminate plaque and improve blood flow, your doctor enters the arteries in your neck. Higher-risk patients may also receive a stent placement.

Fibrinolytic therapy:

Medication breaks up a blood clot that is clogging your artery.

You and your doctor will talk about the risks involved with these procedures.

Prevention:

Atherosclerosis can be prevented and treated with lifestyle adjustments, especially for type 2 diabetes.

Adapting a healthier lifestyle can help;

  • Eating a balanced diet reduced cholesterol and saturated fats
  • Eliminating greasy foods
  • Two times every week, replace red meat in your diet with fish
  • Seventy-five minutes of vigorous activity or at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
  • If you smoke, giving up is a must.
  • Keeping your weight at a moderate, healthy level
  • Reducing tension
  • Addressing disorders such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, obesity, and diabetes that are linked to atherosclerosis

Exercise:

Set a daily goal of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardio.

This level of activity might benefit you;

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep your blood pressure level
  • Amplify the levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Decreasing triglycerides

Diet:

  • Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and good fats.
  • Reduce your consumption of high-cholesterol foods like cheese, whole milk, and eggs to lower your cholesterol intake.
  • Reduce your sodium consumption because it raises blood pressure.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption.

References:

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569
  • https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-and-coronary-artery-disease
  • https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/what-is-atherosclerosis
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/atherosclerosis
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