Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the fatty minerals builds up and leads to the thickening of artery walls. It is a common problem that affects the arteries and this disease is also known as hardening or blockage of the arteries. These fatty substances are known as plaque and these plaques make the arteries narrower and lead to reduced or blocked blood flow. Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body including the arteries in the heart, brain, arms, legs, and pelvis. It is highly linked with the stroke and the chest pain. In severe conditions, it can result in coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, kidney problems. The problems that arise from atherosclerosis depends on the artery that is affected. Atherosclerosis begins at an early teenage year and develops over the course of 50 years.
- When atherosclerosis leads to the partial blockage of arteries in the heart, it can lead to chest pain and this condition is known as angina.
- When atherosclerosis leads to complete blockage of the arteries in the heart and the part of heart muscle dies, it can lead to heart attack. In medical terms, this condition is known as myocardial infarction.
- When atherosclerosis leads to the total damage of the artery in the brain, it leads to stroke.
Causes of Atherosclerosis
The exact cause atherosclerosis is not known yet but according to the studies, atherosclerosis can be caused when the low density lipoprotein become oxidized by the free radicals and when this oxidized LDL come in contact with the wall of an artery, it leads to certain reactions. The body’s immune system responds to the damage to the artery that is caused by the oxidized LDL and to absorb the oxidized LDL it sends specialized white blood cells. Unfortunately, this process by the immune system backfires and leads to an inflamed artery. Also, the continuous evolution of arterial wall lesions progressively develops atherosclerosis.
Other risk factors that are associated with atherosclerosis include
- Lack of physical activity
- Advancing age
- Insulin resistance
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
Symptoms of atherosclerosis
Generally, at the initial stage of atherosclerosis there are no symptoms but at the later stage of this disease, the symptoms depend on the artery that is affected. For example, if the artery of the heart is affected, the patient can experience chest pain and heart attack. If the arteries of the brain are affected, it can cause symptoms such as stroke, weakness, problems with vision and headache. Symptoms such as the problem in walking, pain in the legs and feet can be caused when the arteries of the lower extremities are affected from atherosclerosis.
Diseases that are associated with atherosclerosis
1. Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is one of the most common types of cardiovascular disease and it is also known as ischemic heart disease. It belongs to the group of diseases that include sudden cardiac arrest, stable angina and unstable angina. The mechanism of coronary artery disease involves reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to atherosclerosis if the arteries in the heart.
2. Peripheral artery disease
Peripheral artery disease is a condition that occurs when the arteries of the body other than the brain or the heart narrows. Legs are the most affected area of this disease but it can affect other arteries as well. It can be characterized as a problem in walking or the pain in the legs. When atherosclerosis becomes serious it can lead to peripheral artery disease.
3. Kidney disease
Kidney diseases are also known as renal disease and it occurs when there is some damage to the kidney. Atherosclerosis can lead to the narrowing and hardening of arteries that can further results in the restricted blood flow to the kidneys.
Preventive measures to treat atherosclerosis
There are treatments and medicines available to treat the problem of atherosclerosis but using some natural ways and adopting some changes is the best way to improve the symptoms of atherosclerosis. Some of the preventive measures include
- Do regular physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Control the level of cholesterol
Share this post with your family and friends and make them aware of this disease. It is necessary for us to know about all the diseases that are quite common among people. The risk factors that are associated with atherosclerosis can be controlled and it can help you in preventing or delaying the development of atherosclerosis. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!!