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Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis

Reviewed by

Team Resolve

February 26, 2022

Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis: Causes, Symptoms And Recovery

Healthy arteries that are flexible and elastic can develop hardened walls over time. The blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients become narrow and as a result, the flow of the blood, oxygen and nutrients get restricted. The condition can develop due to many causes but, the major cause is the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the blood vessels. Thickened and narrow blood vessels ultimately lead to blockage of blood flow which can fail multiple organs. Early diagnosis can prevent the occurrence of major complications. The article provides a brief knowledge about arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis and what can be done to improve the condition.

Table of Contents

What Are Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are often referred to as the same thing but there is a slight difference between them.

ARTERIOSCLEROSIS: the condition occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the entire body, gets thickened and narrow. It restricts the flow of blood and limits the proper supply of nutrients to the respective organs and tissues.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS: it is a type of arteriosclerosis. It occurs when a build-up of fat and cholesterol plaque occurs in the walls of the arteries. The plaques may rupture and cause clots in the artery. Atherosclerosis doesn’t show any symptoms until there is a rupture of plaque or the build-up is severe enough to block the blood flow. Although the condition is considered to be a heart problem, it can affect any artery of the body.

Both the conditions can be treated.

What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Atherosclerosis?

Causes

Atherosclerosis is a slow and progressive process. It can start as early as childhood. The condition occurs by damaging the inner lining of the blood vessels. The precise cause of atherosclerosis is not known. But it can occur due to other underlying causes which are:

  1. High blood pressure.
  2. High cholesterol level.
  3. High level of triglycerides (lipid) in the blood.
  4. Diabetes and insulin resistance.
  5. Uncontrolled body weight and obesity.
  6. Smoking tobacco and too much consumption of alcohol.
  7. Inflammation of the arteries from underlying diseases like arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel diseases.

Over time, the fatty deposits or the plaques made up of cholesterol damage the inner lining of the artery. Eventually, the plaques can rupture and release the cholesterol particles in the blood. It can cause blood clots in certain areas of the body. If the blood clot occurs around the heart, a heart attack can take place.

Symptoms

Atherosclerosis doesn’t show any symptoms until there is a rupture of plaque or the build-up is severe enough to block the blood flow. The symptoms of atherosclerosis usually depend on the position and the location of the affected arteries.

  1. Atherosclerosis in the heart arteries: in such a case, the patient can develop pain and pressure in the chest i.e. angina.
  2. Atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to the brain: if the condition occurs in the arteries of the brain then the patient may experience sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs, difficulty in speaking and slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one or both the eyes, drooping muscles, etc. if the symptoms are left untreated, the patient can suffer a stroke.
  3. Atherosclerosis in the arteries of arms and legs: the patient experiences sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs, decreased blood pressure in the affected arm or leg, inability and difficulty to do the movements properly.
  4. Atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to the kidney: if the condition takes place in the arteries leading to the kidney then there will be decreased blood pressure and improper functioning of the kidney can lead to kidney failure.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Ageing and obesity can play a major role in contributing to the disease. Other than these factors, several risk factors can cause the disease. Which are:

  1. High blood pressure.
  2. High cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood.
  3. High levels of C-reactive proteins, CRP.
  4. Diabetes.
  5. Obesity.
  6. Sleep apnea.
  7. Smoking tobacco.
  8. Inactive and fewer exercises.
  9. Family history of heart diseases.
  10. Unhealthy diet and high consumption of alcohol.

What Complications Can Arise Due To The Disease?

The complications depend on the position and location of the affected arteries. Blocked arteries over time can lead to the following complications:

  1. Coronary heart disease. 
  2. Carotid artery disease.
  3. Aneurysms.
  4. Chronic kidney diseases and kidney failure.
  5. Failure and improper functioning of other organs due to affected arteries around the organ.

What Are The Treatment Options?

The first treatment options prescribed by the doctor are lifestyle and diet changes. The patient is advised to be more active, do regular exercises and eat healthy and nutritious food. Other than self-care changes, medicines and surgeries are implied.

Medications:

  1. Statins and cholesterol medicines like ezetimibe (Zetia) and medicines to lower the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. (note: the patient must consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
  2. Blood thinners.
  3. Blood pressure medications.
  4. Medicines to treat the underlying causes like diabetes, insulin resistance, etc.

(Note: the patient must consult a doctor before trying out any medications)

Surgery And Other Procedures:

  1. Angioplasty and stent placement.
  2. Endarterectomy.
  3. Fibrinolytic therapy.
  4. Coronary artery bypass surgery.
  5. Physical therapy or rehabilitation.

What Can Be Done At Home: Precautions And Care

Early prevention is the best way to avoid any future complications. To achieve that, the patient should

  1. do regular exercises.
  2. control blood pressure or hypertension and blood sugar levels.
  3. lower the amount of cholesterol and fat intake in the diet.
  4. avoid illegal drugs, tobacco smoking and heavy consumption of alcohol.
  5. build a healthy lifestyle with healthy and nutritious diets.
  6. Maintain a healthy weight.
  7. Check and maintain cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood.
  8. Check and control underlying diseases like diabetes, insulin resistance, anxiety and stress.
  9. Go for morning walks, do yoga or meditation to maintain blood circulation.
  10. Limit carbohydrate and unhealthy fat consumption.
  11. Take proper medications prescribed by the doctor. (note: the patient must consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
  12. Do regular health check-ups to keep an eye on the condition.
  13. Take necessary nutritional supplements.

The Process Of Recovery:

Atherosclerosis is curable if treated properly. The patient must bring necessary lifestyle and dietary changes to get efficient results. The timeline of recovery varies from patient to patient and depends on factors like age, lifestyle, eating habits, activeness, the extent of the disease and family history. 

Receiving treatment and taking medications properly will gradually make the conditions better. If the patient undergoes surgery, he/she will be able to go back to their normal daily activities after about three to four weeks. 

After surgery, the patients must start light and slow. Regular updates and visits to the doctor should be done to avoid any future complications.

Disclaimer

The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.

Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?

Resolve360 is an online rehabilitation platform for post-surgery clinical assessments, that provides solutions to post-surgery care and rehabilitation facilities for the patients. There are several programs on how to take care after undergoing surgery, what precautions and care one should take. There is free access to knowledge and consultation. For further details, don’t forget to contact us! We will take extreme pride in serving you! HAPPY RECOVERY!

For further detailed knowledge kindly go through the following points.

  1. Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home. 
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