Arteriosclerosis (atherosclerosis)

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body. A healthy artery is an artery that is flexible, strong and elastic. However, too much stress on your arteries can make the walls thick and stiff - sometimes restricting blood flow to organs and tissues. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis is more to the formation of fats in and on the walls of the arteries (plaque), which can restrict blood flow. Plaques can also rupture and cause blood clots. Although atherosclerosis is often considered the heart of the problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in the body. Atherosclerosis is a condition that is preventable and treatable.


atherosclerosis formed gradually. Usually the symptoms of atherosclerosis will not appear until the very narrowed or blocked arteries that can’t supply enough blood to the organs and tissues. Sometimes the blood clot blocks blood flow totally or even split and cause blood clots that can trigger heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms atherosclerosis based on which arteries are affected. For example:

• If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries of the heart, you may have symptoms similar to a heart attack, such as chest pain (angina)

• If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to the brain, you may have symptoms such as numbness or sudden weakness in an arm or leg, difficulty speaking or slurred talk, or drooping facial muscles

• If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries in the arms and legs, you may have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, such as pain in the legs when walking.

Sometimes atherosclerosis causes erectile dysfunction in men.

Causes & Risk Factors


Atherosclerosis is a disease that develops slowly and gradually. The disease can begin in early childhood. Despite all the exact cause is unknown, scientists suspect that atherosclerosis starts with damage or injury to the lining of the arteries. Damage may be caused by:

• High blood pressure

• High Cholesterol

• Irritants, such as nicotine

• Certain diseases, such as diabetes

Once the inner wall of the artery is damaged, blood cells called platelets often clump and wounded places to try to repair the artery, causing swelling. Over time, plaque formed from cholesterol and other substances also gathered on the grounds where this injury, harden and narrow the arteries. Organ and tissue associated with a blocked artery is then not receiving enough blood to work properly.

Eventually most of the plaque may break off and get into the bloodstream. It can cause blood clots and damage to internal organs, such as heart attack. Blood clots can also be delivered to other parts of the body and partly or completely block blood flow to other organs.

Risk factors

Hardening of the arteries occurs every time. In addition, factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis include:

• High blood pressure

• High Cholesterol

• Diabetes

• Obesity

• Smoking

• Family history of aneurysm or early heart disease


The same lifestyle changes recommended for treating atherosclerosis can also be prevented. You have to know in advance also helps in prevention - stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and do not drink alcohol. Remember to make a step change now.


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