Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease that affects the arteries. Plaque builds up inside the arterial walls, which can cause the arteries to narrow. It can lead to a number of problems such as heart attack, stroke, and even death. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at atherosclerosis and what you can do to reduce your risk of developing it.

Atherosclerosis, how does it occur?

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the vessels and limiting blood flow. Plaque buildup is often caused by a combination of factors. Including high cholesterol, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. Over time, the plaque can become hard and calcified, making it even more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries. If left untreated, atherosclerosis can lead to serious health problems, specifically angina pectoris, heart attack, stroke and stroke.

What are the signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis?

Although atherosclerosis is often asymptomatic in its early stages, it is important to know the potential signs and symptoms so that you can seek treatment if needed. This pathology arises from the consequences of arterial obstruction. Depending on the artery in question, the repercussions will be different:

  • Stroke for the arteries of the brain.
  • Renal failure for the arteries of the kidney.
  • Myocardial infarction for the arteries supplying the heart.
  • Obliterating arteriopathy of the lower limbs (PAD) for the arteries of the legs.
  • Mesenteric infarction for the digestive arteries.
  • Transient ischemic attack: This is an equivalent of angina pectoris at the cerebral level.
  • Brief neurological deficit: this event is often the precursor of a “classic” stroke, one of the alarming signs of atherosclerosis.

What are the treatment options for atherosclerosis?

If atherosclerosis has already been diagnosed, two treatment options are considered:

Medications :

  • Statins: Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol. By reducing the amount of cholesterol produced, statins help lower overall cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
  • Blood thinners: Blood thinners are commonly used to treat atherosclerosis. They work by preventing the blood from clotting. This can help reduce the risk of a blockage forming in the arteries.

Surgery :

In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat atherosclerosis if lifestyle changes and medications haven’t worked. During the operation, a balloon is used to open up the narrowed artery. A stent may also be placed in the artery to help keep it open. Sometimes atherosclerosis can be treated with coronary artery bypass grafting. This procedure involves using a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body to create a new path for blood to flow around the clogged artery. Surgery is usually only considered when other treatments have failed to treat atherosclerosis.

How to prevent atherosclerosis?

All you need to do is adopt healthy lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Eat balanced: A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by controlling cholesterol levels and preventing inflammation.
  • Exercise regularly: physical exercise has been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis. One study found that people who exercised regularly were less likely to develop plaques in their arteries than those who didn’t. Exercise appears to work by reducing inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries.
  • Avoid tobacco: Smoking damages the walls of the arteries, which promotes plaque buildup.
  • Limit excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can also contribute to plaque buildup, as well as high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Manage your stress: Stress can cause arteries to constrict, increasing the risk of plaque buildup.
  • Control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure: Especially for sedentary people and those with high cholesterol. They need to control their blood pressure and cholesterol levels as a means of prevention.
* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.