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Atherosclerosis

Information about Atherosclerosis

We Have to Know about the Atherosclerosis

  • A narrowing of the arteries that can significantly reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the heart, brain, and intestines

Could be dangerous, if the answer is YES for any one of the following questions

  • Heavy pain?

Causes of Atherosclerosis

  • The arteries are narrowed when fatty deposits called plaques build up inside. Plaques typically contain cholesterol from low-density lipoproteins (LDL), smooth muscle cells and fibrous tissue, and sometimes calcium
  • As a plaque grows along the lining of an artery, it produces a rough area which can cause a blood clot inside the artery, which can totally block blood flow. As a result, the organ supplied by the blocked artery starves for blood and oxygen, and the organ’s cells may either die or suffer severe damage

Do’s and Don’ts of Atherosclerosis

  • Avoid cigarette smoking. If you smoke, then quit
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits
  • Control high blood pressure
  • If you have diabetes, you need to work even harder on controlling weight, exercising more, lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and keeping blood pressure less than 130/85
  • If you do not have diabetes, you should have a fasting blood sugar test every few years if you have risk factors for diabetes (being overweight, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol) starting at age 45

Signs & Symptoms of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause any symptoms until blood supply to an organ is reduced

  • Heart -Symptoms include the chest pain of angina and shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness, breathlessness or palpitations
  • Brain – dizziness or confusion; weakness or paralysis on one side of the body; sudden, severe numbness in any part of the body; visual disturbance, including sudden loss of vision; difficulty walking, including staggering or veering; coordination problems in the arms and hands; and slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Abdomen – dull or cramping pain in the middle of the abdomen, usually beginning 15 to 30 minutes after a meal. Complete blockage of an intestinal artery causes severe abdominal pain, sometimes with vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal swelling
  • Legs – Narrowing of the leg arteries causes crampy pain in the leg muscles, especially during exercise. If narrowing is severe, there may be a pain at rest, cold toes and feet, pale or bluish skin, and hair loss on the legs

Medical advice for Atherosclerosis

  • It is possible to have atherosclerosis for many years without having symptoms. If you experience symptoms of an atherosclerosis-related medical condition, contact a doctor immediately

Risk factors for Atherosclerosis

  • High level of blood cholesterol
  • Low level of HDL (the “good cholesterol”)
  • High levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • The family history of coronary artery disease at an early age
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity (too little regular exercise)
  • Older age
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

Treatment for Atherosclerosis

  • There is no cure for atherosclerosis, but treatment can slow or halt the worsening of the disease
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs can be useful in the majority of cases
  • The specific treatment depends on the organ involved

Self-care for  Atherosclerosis

  • Food containing good cholesterol
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a normal level of blood pressure

Investigations for Atherosclerosis

  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood tests to measure your total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels; triglyceride level and fasting blood sugar
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
Information about Atherosclerosis
       Symptoms of Atherosclerosis