What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis, also called arteriosclerosis, is a disease in which your arteries harden and become clogged. The accumulation of fat, cholesterol, calcium and some other substances creates plaques inside the arteries that can lead to serious problems including coronary heart disease, strokes, amputations, and even death.
Atherosclerosis and related diseases in the United States are the number one cause of death for both men and women.
Small lifestyle changes can help prevent this disease such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, managing cholesterol, and staying physically active.
This can lower your risk of arteriosclerosis and improve your overall health.
Most patients do not experience symptoms at first, they usually appear until these arteries are significantly clogged and depend on the affected arteries.
For example, chest pain leading to angina or acute myocardial infarction may indicate that the heart arteries are affected.
Limb pain when walking may indicate that the leg arteries are affected. Likewise, a small stroke can be the beginning of symptoms that the arteries that carry blood to the brain, such as the carotid arteries, are affected.
Some risk factors for atherosclerosis are.
- Being a man.
- Family history.
- These factors cannot be modified.
- Other risk factors such as:
- High blood pressure.
- High levels of cholesterol.
- High sugar levels.
- Inflammatory processes in the body that respond to injury or infection.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Mental problems.
We can modify these risk factors by improving our diet, physical activity, tobacco consumption, etc.
Treatment for atherosclerosis
Medications may help us manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
It is important to consult a vascular surgeon if surgery is required. Surgical processes can be angioplasty or stent placement or even a bypass.
Prevention is key in reducing the risk of diseases caused by atherosclerosis, mainly through changes in lifestyle, diet, quitting smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar control, maintaining an adequate weight, stress management, and increasing physical activity.
Such changes can significantly improve overall health.
At the Cardiovascular Center we offer you a wide range of diagnostic services, timely treatment and follow-up to take care of the arteries and veins of our body.
Fuente: Dr. Salomón Cohen Mussali – Medical specialist in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery of the Medical Center ABC.