Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease
The three primary types of cardiovascular disease are brought on by the plaques of atherosclerosis:
- Stable plaques in your heart’s arteries can cause angina (chest pain). A heart attack occurs when a sudden plaque ruptures and a blood clot affects your heart muscle.
- Cerebrovascular disease: Transient ischemic attacks (tias), which are stroke warning signals but may not result in any brain damage, can also be caused by temporary arterial blockages. Strokes caused by burst plaques in your brain’s arteries have the potential to cause lasting brain damage.
- Peripheral artery disease: If the arteries in your legs become narrow, it can cause poor circulation, which makes it painful to walk and wounds on the leg and foot take longer to heal. If the disease is severe, a limb may need to be amputated.
How is Atherosclerosis Managed/ Treated?
Once you have a blockage, it usually won’t go away. But you can slow or stop plaques with medicine and lifestyle changes. With vigorous therapy, plaque might even slightly contract.
By addressing the risk factors, such as a good diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking, you can slow or stop atherosclerosis. While these adjustments won’t dissolve blockages, they have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
Drugs for high cholesterol and high blood pressure will reduce and possibly even stop the development of atherosclerosis, lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Your doctor may employ less invasive methods or more invasive ones to bypass atherosclerotic blockages:
- Stenting helps relieve symptoms but does not prevent heart attacks. In angiography and stenting, your doctor inserts a small tube into an artery in your leg or arm to access damaged arteries. Blockages are seen on a live x-ray screen.
- In a bypass procedure, a healthy blood artery, frequently one from your leg or chest, is used to circumvent a blocked segment.
- Endarterectomy: To remove plaque and improve blood flow, your doctor enters the neck arteries. For higher-risk individuals, they may additionally install a stent.
- Mediation may be prescribed to breakdown a blood clot that is obstructing your artery.
Your physician will go over the risks associated with these procedures with you,
Atherosclerosis is the thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
Risk factors may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, and poor diet.
Bits of plaque can break loose and cause blood clots that may lead to heart attack or stroke. There is currently no cure for atherosclerosis, but the condition can be slowed with certain drugs and dietary changes. Consult your doctor for the best treatment plan.
Learn more about Atherosclerosis here.