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Atherosclerosis is a condition wherein fatty deposits called plaque start to build up in the blood vessels, especially the arteries, causing them to harden. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart out to the body, and when atherosclerosis happens, blood flow to certain parts of the body will get restricted, and make it difficult for the affected organs to function well.
This can cause symptoms in the part of the body that is not getting enough blood. Atherosclerosis is the reason most people have a heart attack or stroke.
Blood clots can also form as a result of atherosclerosis, and can potentially block the flow of blood completely. This can cause even more severe damage to occur.
When atherosclerosis is left untreated, it has the potential to cause heart attacks or even a stroke if it affects either a person’s heart or the brain. By knowing what is atherosclerosis, what it’s causes are, and what steps can be taken to prevent it, we can avoid this life-threatening condition.
Now that we know what is atherosclerosis, we will be discussing the potential symptoms of this condition.
The symptoms of atherosclerosis can manifest in different ways, depending on which parts of the body are affected. Sometimes, there aren’t even any overt symptoms at all.
If you have atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries, or the arteries connected to the heart:
If you have atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries, or arteries connected to the brain:
If you have atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries, or the arteries connected to your arms, legs, and pelvis:
If you have atherosclerosis in the renal arteries, or the arteries responsible for distributing blood to your kidneys:
As soon as you experience any of the symptoms above, it would be a good idea to consult your doctor about it. This is especially true for those who have been diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, or those who have a family history of hypertension.
In some cases, some people don’t even experience any symptoms until it’s too late. Which is why it’s very important to have a yearly checkup in order to keep track of your health.
Atherosclerosis starts as the buildup of plaque or cholesterol and other fatty deposits inside the blood vessels. Over time, the plaque builds up, causing the blood vessels to become narrower until blood flow to certain parts of the body get severely restricted or even blocked completely.
The process can start in childhood, and affect a person in their 30s. However, it can also start much later, such as when a person is in their 50s or 60s as it is normal for arteries to harden as a person grows older.
Atherosclerosis can progress very slowly, and in some cases, you might not even realize that you already have the condition until it’s too late.
In order to lower the risk of having atherosclerosis, it is important to be aware of the risk factors. Here are some of the things than can potentially increase the risk of atherosclerosis:
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of atherosclerosis such as numbness, difficulty breathing, or a pain in your chest, talk to your doctor in order to see if there are any problems with your circulation.
Your doctor will not typically order tests to check for atherosclerosis. Instead, they will order tests if they think you have a specific form of atherosclerosis, such as coronary heart disease or peripheral artery disease. A test called a “lipid profile” is often done to measure the amounts of different kinds of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
Additionally, your doctor might also ask you to undergo the following tests:
If your doctor sees any problems, then they will be recommending different forms of treatment in order to stop atherosclerosis from getting worse.
There are no cures for atherosclerosis. If a person gets diagnosed with this condition, then it is important to take steps in order to minimize the risk and prevent it from getting worse.
Here are some forms of treatment:
This is why it’s important to take steps in order to lower the risk of atherosclerosis, since it’s impossible to reverse it once it has already started.
Here are some things that you can do in order to lower the risk or completely prevent atherosclerosis:
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Arteriosclerosis/Athersclerosis https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569 Accessed June 18, 2020
Atherosclerosis https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/atherosclerosis Accessed June 18, 2020
Atherosclerosis https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atherosclerosis/ Accessed June 18, 2020
Prevalence of Atherosclerosis-Related Risk Factors and Diseases in the Philippines https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798639/ Accessed June 18, 2020
Diagnosing Atherosclerosis https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/blood-heart-circulation/atherosclerosis/diagnosis.html Accessed June 18, 2020
Accessed June 18, 2020