Your Health FeedAtherosclerosis: Its Causes & Complications

October 18, 2021by Ayaan Hamza0
What is Arteriosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis in which the artery’s wall develops irregularities known as lesions. Because of the accumulation of atheromatous plaque, these lesions may cause narrowing. There are usually no symptoms at first. It can cause coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or kidney difficulties. If symptoms do appear, they usually do not appear until middle age.

How is atherosclerosis different from arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body thicken and stiffen, limiting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but the walls of your arteries can harden over time, a disease known as artery hardening.

Atherosclerosis is a kind of arteriosclerosis that has a specific cause. It’s the accumulation of fats, cholesterol, and other chemicals in and on the walls of your arteries. Plaque is the term for this accumulation. Your arteries may narrow as a result of the plaque, obstructing blood flow. A blood clot can result if the plaque bursts. Although atherosclerosis is commonly associated with the heart, it can affect arteries throughout the body.

Symptoms

The symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis vary. Consider the following circumstance:

  • You may have symptoms such as chest pain or pressure if you have atherosclerosis in your heart arteries (angina).
  • You may experience abrupt numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face if you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain. These symptoms indicate a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which can lead to a stroke if left untreated.
  • You may experience indications or symptoms of peripheral artery disease if you have atherosclerosis in the arteries of your arms and legs, such as leg pain when walking (claudication) or low blood pressure in an affected limb.
  • High blood pressure or renal failure can result from atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to the kidneys.
Causes

Atherosclerosis is a chronic, slow-moving illness that can start in childhood. Although the specific cause of atherosclerosis is uncertain, it is thought to begin with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery.

  • High blood pressure.
  • High Cholesterol levels.
  • Triglycerides levels in the blood.
  • Cigarettes and other sources of tobacco.
  • Obesity, diabetes, or insulin resistance.
  • Inflammation by an unknown cause or condition including arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Complications

However, the severity of atherosclerosis problems is determined by which arteries are clogged. For example:

  • Coronary artery disease is a condition that affects the arteries of the heart. It can cause chest pain (angina), a heart attack, or heart failure, which develops when atherosclerosis narrows the arteries adjacent to your heart.
  • Carotid artery disease is a condition that affects the arteries in the neck. Carotid artery disease develops when atherosclerosis narrows the arteries adjacent to the brain, causing a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects the arteries in the arms and legs. When atherosclerosis narrows the arteries, you may develop peripheral artery disease, which causes circulation difficulties in your arms and legs. This can make you more sensitive to heat and cold, increasing your chances of getting burned or frostbitten. Poor circulation in your arms or legs might trigger tissue death in rare circumstances (gangrene).
  • Aneurysms are a significant consequence of atherosclerosis that can arise anywhere in the body. An aneurysm is a bulging in the artery’s wall. The majority of persons who develop aneurysms have no symptoms. Aneurysm pain and throbbing might occur, and this is a medical emergency. You may have life-threatening internal bleeding if an aneurysm bursts. A steady leak is possible, despite the fact that this is normally a quick, devastating catastrophe. If a blood clot within an aneurysm dislodges, it could block an artery far away.
  • Chronic renal disease is a condition that affects the kidneys. The arteries leading to your kidneys can constrict due to atherosclerosis, preventing oxygenated blood from reaching them. This can impair kidney function over time, preventing waste from leaving your body.
Prevention

The same healthy lifestyle adjustments that are advocated for treating atherosclerosis are also beneficial in preventing it. These are some of them:

  • Smoking reduction
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Regular exercising
  • Keeping a healthy weight is important.
  • Blood pressure should be checked and maintained.
  • Keeping a healthy cholesterol and blood sugar level.

 

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