Hardening of the arteries atherosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis – Symptoms and causes
Atherosclerosis | NHLBI, NIH
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.
Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Figure A shows a normal artery with normal blood flow. The inset image shows a cross-section of a normal artery. Figure B shows an artery with plaque buildup. The inset image shows a cross-section of an artery with plaque buildup.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body, including arteries in the heart, brain, arms, legs, pelvis, and kidneys. As a result, different diseases may develop based on which arteries are affected.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease happens when the arteries of the heart cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the heart when it is needed during periods of stress or physical effort.
Coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, is a type of ischemic heart disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
This buildup can partially or totally block blood flow in the large arteries of the heart. If blood flow to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, you may have angina (chest pain or discomfort) or a heart attack.
Coronary microvascular disease is another type of ischemic heart disease. It occurs when the heart’s tiny arteries do not function normally.
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid (ka-ROT-id) artery disease occurs if plaque builds up in the arteries on each side of your neck (the carotid arteries). These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. If blood flow to your brain is reduced or blocked, you may have a stroke.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) occurs if plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your legs, arms, and pelvis.
If blood flow to these parts of your body is reduced or blocked, you may have numbness, pain, and, sometimes, dangerous infections.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease can occur if plaque builds up in the renal arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys.
Over time, chronic kidney disease causes a slow loss of kidney function. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste and extra water from the body.
The cause of atherosclerosis isn’t known. However, certain traits, conditions, or habits may raise your risk for the disease. These conditions are known as risk factors.
You can control some risk factors, such as lack of physical activity, smoking, and an unhealthy diet. Others you can’t control, such as age and a family history of heart disease.
Some people who have atherosclerosis have no signs or symptoms. They may not be diagnosed until after a heart attack or stroke.
The main treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle changes. You also may need medicines and medical procedures. These treatments, along with ongoing medical care, can help you live a healthier life.
Improved treatments have reduced the number of deaths from atherosclerosis-related diseases. These treatments also have improved the quality of life for people who have these diseases. However, atherosclerosis remains a common health problem.
You may be able to prevent or delay atherosclerosis and the diseases it can cause. Making lifestyle changes and getting ongoing care can help you avoid the problems of atherosclerosis and live a long, healthy life.
Hardening of the arteries Information | Mount Sinai
Arnett DK, Blumenthal RS, Albert MA, Buroker AB, et al. 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: executive summary: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;74(10):1376-1414.PMID: 30894319 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30894319/.
Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 48.
James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 evidence-based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507-520. PMID: 24352797 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24352797/.
Libby P. The vascular biology of atherosclerosis. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 44.
Marks AR. Cardiac and circulatory function. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 47.
US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement: statin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: preventive medication. Updated November 13, 2016. Accessed January 28, 2020. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/statin-use-in-adults-preventive-medication1.
Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;71(19):2199-2269. PMID: 2914653 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29146533/.
Last reviewed on: 1/27/2020
Reviewed by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Atherosclerosis | American Heart Association
Atherosclerosis and cholesterol
Plaque (fatty deposits) build up in your arteries is called atherosclerosis. These deposits are made up of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood).
As plaque builds up, the wall of the blood vessel thickens. This narrows the channel within the artery – reducing blood flow. That lessens the amount of oxygen and other nutrients reaching the body.
Watch an animation about atherosclerosis.
Where plaque develops, and the type of artery affected, varies with each person. Plaque may partially or totally block blood flow through large- or medium-sized arteries in the heart, brain, pelvis, legs, arms or kidneys. This can lead to conditions such as:
- Coronary heart disease (plaque in arteries in or leading to the heart)
- Angina (chest pain from reduced blood flow to the heart muscle)
- Carotid artery disease (plaque in neck arteries supplying blood to the brain)
- Peripheral artery disease, or PAD (plaque in arteries of the extremities, especially the legs)
- Chronic kidney disease
Plaque presents a double threat
Plaque itself can pose a risk. A piece of plaque can break off and be carried by the bloodstream until it gets stuck. And plaque that narrows an artery may lead to a blood clot (thrombus) that sticks to the blood vessel’s inner wall.
In either case, the artery can be blocked, cutting off blood flow.
If the blocked artery supplies the heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke occurs. If an artery supplying oxygen to the extremities (often the legs) is blocked, gangrene, or tissue death, can result.
How it starts and how it progresses
Atherosclerosis is a slow, lifelong progression of changes in the blood vessels that may start in childhood and get worse faster as you age.
The cause of atherosclerosis isn’t completely known.
Many scientists believe plaque begins when an artery’s inner lining (called the endothelium) becomes damaged. Four possible causes of such damage are:
Smoking plays a big role in the progression of atherosclerosis in the aorta (the body’s main artery), coronary arteries and arteries in the legs. Smoking makes fatty deposits more likely to form, and it accelerates the growth of plaque.
Atherosclerosis | Johns Hopkins Medicine
What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis thickening or hardening of the arteries. It is caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
Plaque is made up of deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin. As it builds up in the arteries, the artery walls become thickened and stiff.
Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start as early as childhood. However, it can progress rapidly.
What causes atherosclerosis?
It’s not clear exactly how atherosclerosis starts or what causes it. However, a gradual buildup of plaque or thickening due to inflammation occurs on the inside of the walls of the artery. This reduces blood flow and oxygen supply to the vital body organs and extremities.
What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis?
Risk factors for atherosclerosis, include:
What are the symptoms of atherosclerosis?
Signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis may develop gradually, and may be few, as the plaque gradually builds up in the artery. Symptoms may also vary depending on the affected artery. However, when a major artery is blocked, signs and symptoms may be severe, such as those occurring with heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.
The symptoms of atherosclerosis may look like other heart conditions. See your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is atherosclerosis diagnosed?
First, your doctor will do a complete medical history and physical exam. You may also have one or more of these tests:
Cardiac catheterization. With this procedure, a long thin tube (catheter) is passed into the coronary arteries. X-rays are taken after a dye is injected into an artery to locate the narrowing, blockages, and other abnormalities of specific arteries.
Doppler sonography. A special probe is used to direct sound waves into a blood vessel to evaluate blood flow. An audio receiver amplifies the sound of the blood moving though the vessel. Faintness or absence of sound may mean there is a blockage. This is used to identify narrowing of the blood vessels of the abdomen, neck, or legs.
Blood pressure comparison. Comparing blood pressure measurements in the ankles and in the arms helps determine any constriction in blood flow. Significant differences may mean blood vessels are narrowed due to atherosclerosis.
MUGA/radionuclide angiography. This is a nuclear scan to see how the heart wall moves and how much blood is expelled with each heartbeat, while the person is at rest.
Thallium/myocardial perfusion scan. This is a nuclear scan given while the person is at rest or after exercise that may reveal areas of the heart muscle that are not getting enough blood.
Computerized tomography or CT. This is a type of X-ray test that can see if there is coronary calcification that may suggest a future heart problem.
How is atherosclerosis treated?
Treatment for atherosclerosis may include lifestyle changes, medicine, and surgery.
You can change some risk factors for atherosclerosis such as smoking, high cholesterol levels, high blood sugar (glucose) levels, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, and high blood pressure.
Medicines that may be used to treat atherosclerosis include:
Antiplatelet medicines. These are medicines used to decrease the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together and cause clots. Aspirin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine, and dipyridamole are examples of antiplatelet medicines.
Anticoagulants. Also called blood thinners, these medicines work differently from antiplatelet medicines to decrease the ability of the blood to clot. Warfarin and heparin are examples of anticoagulants.
Cholesterol-lowering medicines. These are medicines used to lower fats (lipids) in the blood, particularly low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. Statins are a group of cholesterol-lowering medicines. They include simvastatin, atorvastatin, and pravastatin among others. Bile acid sequestrants—colesevelam, cholestyramine and colestipol—and nicotinic acid are other types of medicine that may be used to reduce cholesterol levels. Your doctor may also prescribe fibrates to help improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Blood pressure medicines. Several different groups of medicines act in different ways to lower blood pressure.
With this procedure, a long thin tube (catheter) is thread through a blood vessel to the heart. There, a balloon is inflated to create a bigger opening in the vessel to increase blood flow. Although angioplasty is done in other blood vessels elsewhere in the body, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to angioplasty in the coronary arteries to permit more blood flow into the heart. There are several types of PCI procedures, including:
Balloon angioplasty. A small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area.
Atherectomy. The blocked area inside the artery is shaved away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter.
Laser angioplasty. A laser used to vaporize the blockage in the artery.
Coronary artery stent. A tiny mesh coil is expanded inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area and is left in place to keep the artery open.
Coronary artery bypass
Most commonly referred to as bypass surgery, this surgery is often done in people who have angina (chest pain) due to coronary artery disease (where plaque has built up in the arteries). During the surgery, a bypass is created by grafting a piece of a healthy vein from elsewhere in the body and attaching it above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery. This lets blood flow around the blockage. Veins are usually taken from the leg or from the chest wall. Sometimes more than one artery needs to be bypassed during the same surgery.
What are the complications of atherosclerosis?
Plaque buildup inside the arteries reduces the blood flow. A heart attack may occur if the blood supply is reduced to the heart. A damaged heart muscle may not pump as well and can lead to heart failure. A stroke may occur if the blood supply is cut off to the brain. Severe pain and tissue death may occur if the blood supply is reduced to the arms and legs.
Can atherosclerosis be prevented?
You can prevent or delay atherosclerosis by reducing risk factors. This includes adopting a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, losing weight, being physically active, and not smoking can help reduce your risk of atherosclerosis. A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, skinless chicken, seafood, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. A healthy diet also limits sodium, refined sugars and grains, and solid fats.
If you are at risk for atherosclerosis because of family history, or high cholesterol, it is important that you take medicines as directed by your healthcare provider.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your healthcare provider know.
Key points of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
Risk factors may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, and eating saturated fats.
Atherosclerosis can cause a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, or blood clot.
You may need medicine, treatments, or surgery to reduce the complications of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis) – NHS
Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques, or atheroma.
These plaques cause the arteries to harden and narrow, restricting the blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs, and increasing the risk of blood clots that could potentially block the flow of blood to the heart or brain.
Atherosclerosis does not tend to have any symptoms at first and many people may be unaware they have it, but it can eventually cause life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, if it gets worse.
But the condition is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle, and treatment can help reduce the risk of serious problems happening.
Health risks of atherosclerosis
If left to get worse, atherosclerosis can potentially lead to a number of serious conditions known as cardiovascular disease (CVD). There will not usually be any symptoms until CVD develops.
Types of CVD include:
- coronary heart disease – the main arteries that supply your heart (the coronary arteries) become clogged with plaques
- angina – short periods of tight, dull or heavy chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, which may precede a heart attack
- heart attacks – where the blood supply to your heart is blocked, causing sudden crushing or indigestion-like chest pain that can radiate to nearby areas, as well as shortness of breath and dizziness
- strokes – where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing the face to droop to 1 side, weakness on 1 side of the body, and slurred speech
- transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) – where there are temporary symptoms of a stroke
- peripheral arterial disease – where the blood supply to your legs is blocked, causing leg pain when walking
Who’s at risk of atherosclerosis
Exactly why and how arteries become clogged is unclear.
It can happen to anyone, although the following things can increase your risk:
You cannot do anything about some of these factors, but by tackling things like an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise you can help reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and CVD.
Find out more about the risk factors for CVD
Testing for atherosclerosis
Speak to your GP if you’re worried you may be at a high risk of atherosclerosis.
If you’re between the ages of 40 and 74, you should have an NHS Health Check every 5 years, which will include tests to find out if you’re at risk of atherosclerosis and CVD.
Your GP or practice nurse can work out your level of risk by taking into account factors such as:
- your age, gender and ethnic group
- your weight and height
- if you smoke or have previously smoked
- if you have a family history of CVD
- your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- if you have certain long-term conditions
Depending on your result, you may be advised to make lifestyle changes, consider taking medication or have further tests to check for atherosclerosis and CVD.
Reduce your risk of atherosclerosis
Making healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis and may help stop it getting worse.
The main ways you can reduce your risk are:
Read more specific advice about preventing CVD
Treatments for atherosclerosis
There are not currently any treatments that can reverse atherosclerosis, but the healthy lifestyle changes suggested above may help stop it getting worse.
Sometimes additional treatment to reduce the risk of problems like heart attacks and strokes may also be recommended, such as:
Page last reviewed: 02 May 2019
Next review due: 02 May 2022
Guide to living healthy with atherosclerosis
It probably started in childhood: Healthy, clear arteries that transported oxygen-rich blood to the heart and organs slowly started to harden.
The American Heart Association explains that while some hardening is normal in healthy individuals, when plaque builds up along artery walls — a type of heart disease called atherosclerosis — blood flow to key organs may eventually become restricted. This can lead to severe health events such as heart attack and stroke.
Living healthy with atherosclerosis is possible, though, and it’s important.
Atherosclerosis: The basics
Plaque, which is made up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, narrows the arteries and makes blood clots more likely to form. It can lead to a partial or complete blockage of an artery.
Depending on where plaques are found, the National Institutes of Health reports that atherosclerosis can lead to:
- Coronary heart disease, which occurs when blood flow is restricted to the heart muscle.
- Carotid artery disease, which occurs when the arteries on the side of the neck have plaques.
- Peripheral artery disease, which occurs when there’s a blockage in a major artery that brings blood to the legs, arms and pelvis.
- Chronic kidney disease, which occurs when blood flow in the renal arteries is restricted.
In most cases, atherosclerosis shows no symptoms until something serious happens, such as a stroke or heart attack. In some cases, though, atherosclerosis may cause warning symptoms, such as:
- Angina, or chest pain, that feels like chest pressure, indigestion or pain in the shoulders, arms, back, neck or jaw.
- Shortness of breath and an irregular heart beat.
- Changes in urination, tiredness, and nausea.
Atherosclerosis is common and often doesn’t have symptoms until there’s major damage. Being aware of your risk of the disease and knowing how to prevent or manage atherosclerosis will help you avoid heart disease, stroke and other complications. Living healthy with atherosclerosis is possible with proper management, so take steps toward better heart health now.
How to Positively Impact Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis doesn’t have to be a losing battle. In fact, the disease can be reversed through lifestyle changes, according to the American College of Cardiology. Take these steps for living healthy after being diagnosed with atherosclerosis:
1. Stop or refrain from smoking. Smoking cigarettes makes it more likely that fatty deposits will form in your arteries. Plaques may also grow bigger and faster, according to the AHA.
2. Know your cholesterol and blood pressure. LDL (bad) cholesterol plays a role in plaque formation, while HDL (good) cholesterol helps clear LDL cholesterol from arteries, the AHA explains. High triglyceride levels, combined with high LDL cholesterol levels, or low HDL cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis. And when blood pressure is high, it causes tears in artery walls that LDL cholesterol can settle into more easily.
3. Get on a heart-healthy diet. Limiting saturated and trans fats from your diet by eating less red meat, fried food and dairy products made with whole milk will help lower your cholesterol. Swap them for healthy oils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Eating high-fiber foods can lower cholesterol by as much as 10 percent, the AHA says.
4. Make fitness your goal. Being sedentary lowers your HDL cholesterol levels, so there’s less of it to clear your arteries. Take brisk walks, cycle, or do other exercises for 40 minutes three or four times a week to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
5. Strive for weight loss. Carrying around extra weight raises LDL cholesterol levels and lowers HDL cholesterol levels. But, as the AHA notes, dropping 10 percent of your weight improves your numbers.
Atherosclerosis | Cedars-Sinai
Not what you’re looking for?
What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is thickening of
the walls of the arteries. It is also known as hardening of the arteries. It is caused
by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
Plaque is made up of deposits of
fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin. As it
builds up in the arteries, the artery walls become thickened and stiff.
Atherosclerosis is a slow,
progressive disease. It may start as early as childhood. But in some people, it can
What causes atherosclerosis?
It’s not clear exactly how it
starts or what causes it. A gradual buildup of plaque or thickening due to inflammation
occurs on the inside of the walls of the artery. This reduces blood flow and oxygen
body organs and tissues.
Who is at risk for atherosclerosis?
Risk factors include:
- High cholesterol and triglyceride
- High blood pressure
- Type 1 diabetes
- Physical inactivity
- High saturated fat diet
What are the symptoms of atherosclerosis?
Signs and symptoms may develop
slowly over time. Symptoms may also vary depending on the affected artery. Or you
have few symptoms. But when a major artery is blocked, you may have a heart attack,
stroke, or blood clot.
The symptoms of atherosclerosis may
be like other health conditions. See your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is atherosclerosis diagnosed?
First, your doctor will do a
complete medical history and physical exam. You may also have one or more of these
A long thin tube (catheter) is passed into the coronary arteries. A dye is
injected into an artery. Then X-rays are taken. The dye helps to show the narrowing,
blockages, and other problems of certain arteries.
A probe is used to send sound waves into a blood vessel to look at blood flow.
An audio receiver amplifies the sound of the blood moving though the vessel. Faint
sound or no sound may mean there is a blockage. This is used to find narrowed blood
vessels in the abdomen, neck, or legs.
Blood pressure measurements in the ankles and in
the arms are compared. This helps find any differences in blood pressure. Big
differences may mean blood vessels are narrowed due.
MUGA/radionuclide angiography. This is a type of nuclear scan. It is done to see how the heart wall moves and
how much blood is pumped with each heartbeat while you are at rest.
Thallium/myocardial perfusion scan.This is a type of nuclear scan. It is done while you are at rest, or after
exercise. It may show areas of the heart muscle that are not getting enough
This is a type of X-ray test. It can show if there is coronary calcification.
This may lead to a future heart problem.
How is atherosclerosis treated?
Treatment may include lifestyle
changes, medicine, and surgery.
Lifestyle changes can include:
- Stopping smoking
- Controlling cholesterol levels
- Controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels
- Treating high blood pressure
- Getting exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
Medicines that may be used are
These are used to decrease the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together
These are also called blood thinners. They work differently from antiplatelet
medicines to decrease the ability of the blood to clot. Bivalirudin, enoxaparin,
and heparin are examples of IV (intravenous) and injectable anticoagulants. There
are many other anticoagulants used for treating blood clots that occur with
irregular heart rhythms. But these are not used often for atherosclerosis.
These are medicines used to lower fats (lipids) in the blood. They focus on
changing levels of low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. Statins are a type of this
medicine. They include simvastatin, atorvastatin, and pravastatin. Other types of
medicine may be used to reduce cholesterol levels. These include bile acid
sequestrants such as colesevelam, cholestyramine and colestipol. Another medicine
is nicotinic acid. Your doctor may also prescribe fibrates. These help improve
your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. People with inherited high levels of
cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia) may need to use a medicine called a
PCSK9 inhibitor to control their cholesterol. Two kinds of this medicine are
alirocumab and evolocumab.
Blood pressure medicines
Several different types of medicines act in different ways to lower blood pressure.
With this procedure, a long thin
tube (catheter) is put into a blood vessel and moved up into the heart. There,
a balloon is inflated to create a bigger opening in the vessel. This increases blood
flow. Angioplasty is done in other blood vessels elsewhere in the body.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to angioplasty in the coronary
arteries to let more blood flow into the heart. There are several types of PCI,
A small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked
Atherectomy.The blocked area inside the artery is shaved away by a tiny device on the end
of a catheter.
A laser used to vaporize the blockage in the artery.
A tiny mesh coil is expanded inside the blocked artery to open the blocked
area and is left in place to keep the artery open.
Coronary artery bypass
This is most often called bypass
surgery. It is often done in people who have angina (chest pain) because of
atherosclerosis in the heart arteries. During the surgery, a bypass is created around
a blocked area of an artery. A healthy vein is taken from elsewhere in the body. This
is called a graft. The graft is usually taken from the leg or from the chest wall.
The graft is attached above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery. This
lets blood flow around the blocked area. Sometimes more than one artery needs to be
bypassed during the same surgery.
What are possible complications of atherosclerosis?
Plaque buildup inside the arteries
reduces the blood flow. A heart attack may occur if the blood supply is reduced to
heart. A damaged heart muscle may not pump as well. This can lead to heart failure.
stroke may occur if the blood supply is cut off to the brain. If the blood supply
reduced in the arms or legs, it may cause severe pain and destroy tissue.
Can atherosclerosis be prevented?
You can prevent or delay
atherosclerosis by reducing your risk factors. This includes:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Losing weight
- Being physically active
- Not smoking
A healthy diet includes:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean meats, skinless chicken, and fish
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy foods and drinks
- Low sodium
- Low amounts of refined sugars and grains
- Low amounts of solid fats
If you are at risk for
atherosclerosis because of family history or high cholesterol, take medicines as
directed by your healthcare provider.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Call your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms get worse
- You have new symptoms
Key points of atherosclerosis
- Atherosclerosis is thickening of the
walls of the arteries. It is also known as hardening of the arteries. It is caused
a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery
- Risk factors may include high
cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and saturated
- Atherosclerosis can cause a heart
attack, stroke, aneurysm, or blood clot.
- You may need medicine, treatments, or
surgery to reduce the complications of atherosclerosis.
Tips to help you get the most from
a visit to your healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for your visit and
what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down
questions you want answered.
- Bring someone with you to help you ask
questions and remember what your provider tells you.
- At the visit, write down the name of a
new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new
instructions your provider gives you.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment
is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated
in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is
recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if you do not take
the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you have a follow-up appointment,
write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your provider
if you have questions.
Not what you’re looking for?
90,000 Treatment in Germany and Switzerland
What is atherosclerosis?
Hardening of the walls of the arteries, medically called atherosclerosis, is a chronic disease of the arteries when deposits (plaques) form on the walls of the vessels. Plaques can form from fats in the blood, connective tissue, blood clots, and to a small extent calcium. This process is popularly called “hardening of the arteries.”
When plaque builds up, the walls of the arteries lose their elasticity and become thicker.The blood flow is obstructed. As the disease progresses, this process leads to poor circulation and the formation of blood clots (platelet clots). Atherosclerosis can affect all arteries in the body, and most often, as a rule, the arteries of the neck, heart, pelvis and legs.
What are the reasons for the development of atherosclerosis?
The exact mechanism of atherosclerosis is still not clear. The most common cause is damage to the vessel wall. There are several theories that explain this damage.The main reason is considered to be an increase in blood pressure.
The main risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis:
- High blood pressure
- Excess weight
- Elevated cholesterol levels
What are the symptoms of the disease?
Atherosclerosis, as a rule, develops slowly and is asymptomatic in the first stages. The first signs of the disease begin to appear only in old age.Depending on which vessels are damaged, different symptoms may occur.
heart occurs when the coronary arteries narrow. Carotid artery disease is associated with a risk of stroke. If the arteries in the legs and pelvis are affected, it can lead to
obliterating atherosclerosis of peripheral arteries
and severe muscle pain. Erectile dysfunction can also be a sign of atherosclerosis.
A serious consequence of atherosclerosis is an aneurysm, the so-called protrusion of the vessel wall. The aneurysm forms slowly. As the diameter increases, the risk of sudden rupture and severe bleeding increases.
Diagnosis: how is atherosclerosis diagnosed?
The first signs of atherosclerosis are already noticeable when taking anamnesis (patient survey) along with a physical examination. In addition, blood sugar and cholesterol levels are measured. Further diagnostic measures are determined by the localization of the vascular lesion.
- If the carotid artery is damaged, Doppler ultrasound (ultrasound) is done.
- Exercise ECG is a common method for diagnosing coronary artery disease.
- If there are signs of atherosclerosis of the renal arteries, kidney function is checked and blood and urine tests are taken.
- In some cases, angiography (x-ray examination of the vessels) and intracoronary ultrasound (ultrasound of the vessels of the inner walls of the coronary arteries) are also performed.
What are the treatments for atherosclerosis?
In many cases, lifestyle changes and medication are sufficient to slow or stop the disease. In the early stages, this even leads to resorption of plaques.
The drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis are basically the same as for other cardiovascular diseases: drugs for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, anticoagulants.
A healthy lifestyle is of particular importance.Exercise, a healthy diet, and the elimination of risk factors such as smoking and obesity all lead to very good results.
Surgical treatments are usually used in advanced stages or for life-threatening conditions. They include
, t.That is, peeling off the plaque from the inner wall of the carotid artery to expand it.
What are the prognoses and the likelihood of progression of atherosclerosis?
The prognosis largely depends on the degree of vascular lesions. Since even eliminating risk factors alone leads to significant improvements, it is important to change your lifestyle in the right direction as soon as possible.
If the first symptoms of the disease appear, you should consult a doctor. The neglect of the disease can lead to serious complications such as heart attack or stroke.
Gerold Gerd: Internal Medicine. Cologne, self-published 2012 (Herold, Gerd: Innere Medizin. Köln, Eigenverlag 2012).
Arashte K .; Bankler, H.-W. ; Bieber, C .; and etc:. Internal medicine. Stuttgart, ed. Georg Thieme KG 2009 (Arasteh, K.; Baenkler, H.-W.; Bieber, C.; et al .: Innere Medizin. Stuttgart, Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2009).
Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower extremities, treatment and diagnosis of causes, symptoms in Moscow
13 March 2020
Many thanks to Sergey Vladimirovich for his talent! It is happiness that such competent, skillful and talented, caring people work exactly where they are most needed.
Many thanks from my whole family and I wish you continued professional success and worthy . ..
Lantsov Vasily Vladimirovich
11 March 2019
I express my deep gratitude to Deryabin Sergey Vladimirovich for a sensitive and professional approach to work! Thank you very much! You and your work gave me almost a second life, completely putting me on my feet and allowing me to move freely and forget about the terrible, painful bo…
Golubeva Natalia Vladimirovna
6 September 2018
Many thanks to the medical staff of your noble and difficult department, which is headed by Aleksey Vasilyevich Konev, for their professionalism, attention and sensitivity to patients. Low bow to the cardiac surgeon Kolmakov Ernest Aleksandrovich – he has golden hands and the soul of the present…
22 May 2018
I would like to leave my comment about vascular doctors: Deryabin Sergey Vladimirovich and Titovich Alexey Stanislavovich. Very attentive, kind, friendly and the best in their field. Both are handsome, especially Deryabin! I advise! Yes, yes, Sergey Vladimirovich, you are just a gorgeous specialist…
14 March 2018
I would like to leave my comment about vascular doctors: Deryabin Sergey Vladimirovich and Titovich Alexey Stanislavovich. Very attentive, kind, friendly and the best in their field. Both are handsome, especially Deryabin! I advise! Yes, yes, Sergey Vladimirovich, you are just a gorgeous specialist…
Fessrashnikov Mikhail Alexandrovich
24 January 2018
I, Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bessstrashnikov, would like to express my deep gratitude to the doctors of the Department of Vascular Surgery of the Federal Scientific and Clinical Center, namely, to: Dr. med. Chupin Andrey Valerievich – Head of the Center for Vascular Surgery, Professor, Ph.M.Sc. Orekhova Pavel …
3 November 2017
I want to express my deep gratitude to the team that “put me on my feet”. The anesthesiologist (unfortunately, I do not know his name) correctly informed me about the upcoming preparations for the operation and did his job professionally.Surgeons – the highest pi …
Baranov Gennady Rudolfovich
5 September 2017
As a veteran and a participant in the liquidation of the Chernobyl accident in special risk units, I want to say that I managed to visit many medical institutions, and now I have the honor to be in Clinic 83, as we call it, in the department of vascular surgery.What can you say? Honor and praise to you …
23 December 2016
I am very grateful to M. V. Zaitsev, the doctor of the Department of Vascular Surgery. for a warm attitude towards patients and a sincere desire to help. High professionalism, individual approach, patience, responsiveness.Many thanks to the wonderful doctor Maxim Vladimirovich Zaitsev for his work! …
Modern cardiology in medical clinics IMMA provides consultations, diagnostics and treatment of atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels. Leading specialists of the region, in comfortable conditions, will consult, carry out diagnostic measures and, if necessary, prescribe treatment for cardiac pathology.The clinic carries out all the studies of the coronary vessels and the heart using traditional and author’s methods. Each client of the clinic can be sure that his health is in the hands of the best doctors.
In our clinics you can:
- Obtain a consultation with a cardiologist;
- Take an ECG and get a professional interpretation of the results;
- Complete the ABPM procedure;
- Complete Holter monitoring;
- And use other services.
For more details and for any questions, please contact the number indicated on the website
What is atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels is a chronic heart disease that occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, in particular lipid (fat) metabolism. As a result, cholesterol plaques are deposited on the inner walls of the myocardial arteries, in which the growth of defective connective tissue (sclerosis) gradually occurs.Compaction of the vessel walls leads to irreversible deformations, narrowing of the lumen, up to complete blockage.
Atherosclerosis of the vessels of the heart is the first symptom of ischemic heart disease. Without timely and correct treatment, the development of ischemic disease is inevitable.
As a rule, before the first clinical signs appear, the disease has been developing asymptomatically for a long time. According to medical statistics, atherosclerosis begins at a fairly young age and is clearly manifested by the age of 45-50.This is due to the accumulative feature of cholesterol. For many years, it can gradually envelop the walls of blood vessels until it reaches a critical level. The accumulation of trans fats interferes with full blood flow, up to a complete blockage of circulation. Asphyxia and atrophy of the heart muscle sets in.
Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the heart develops under the influence of both social and physiological factors. In cardiology, there are more than 200 reasons provoking the progress of pathology.The most common are:
- Disorders of lipid metabolism, as a result of which excess cholesterol accumulates in the body, which is deposited on the walls of blood vessels;
- Smoking has an extremely negative effect on the heart system. Nicotine, heavy tar, damage cell membranes in blood vessels. Permeability is impaired, blood circulation deteriorates;
- Hypertension. High blood pressure increases the load on the heart muscle;
- Static lifestyle.Office work, lack of normal activity leads to a slowdown in metabolic processes, stagnant processes begin to develop;
- Unbalanced nutrition. Eating large amounts of fried, fatty foods leads to pathologies of the circulatory system;
- Genetic predisposition. If at least one closest blood relative has been diagnosed with atherosclerosis of the vessels of the heart, then the risk of developing the disease increases several times;
- Floor.In young and middle-aged women, the development of atherosclerosis is prevented by natural processes in the body – the synthesis of estrogen. After the onset of menopause, the risk of pathology increases;
- Old age. The gradual accumulation of unhealthy fats has been going on for decades. Therefore, the older a person becomes, the greater the likelihood of a dangerous diagnosis;
- Narcological diseases. The presence of alcohol or drug addiction aggravates the general state of human health, one of the complications of addictions can be atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries of the heart;
Diabetes mellitus.The clinical picture of the disease includes multiple lesions of blood vessels, against the background of impaired metabolism. Atherosclerosis can be a complication.
The danger of atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels of the heart is the absence of symptoms in the early stages of development. The disease can quietly destroy arteries over the years. As a rule, the first signs appear in middle age, after 45 years. During this time, negative processes in the vessels reach a critical level and are manifested by the following symptoms:
- Pain in the region of the heart, left shoulder and under the scapula;
- Discomfort, burning sensation under the ribs;
- Dyspnoea while walking and in a completely horizontal position;
- General weakness, dizziness;
- Constant slight nausea.
Nonspecific symptoms of atherosclerosis of the heart are often taken by patients for the manifestation of other diseases that have similar symptoms. This makes it difficult to make a diagnosis in the early stages, when the prognosis of treatment is favorable in the vast majority of cases.
Progressive atherosclerosis of the vessels of the heart manifests itself with more serious symptoms:
- Angina pectoris. Short-term attacks of pain in the region of the heart, radiating to the scapula, arm, abdominal cavity and lower jaw.They occur after physical activity, eating spicy food, or emotional stress. Lasts no more than 15-20 minutes, symptoms disappear after rest or taking sedatives, for example, validol.
- Cardiosclerosis. The process of development of atherosclerosis is in an active stage – scarring and replacement of muscle tissue with defective compounds occurs. It manifests itself as constant mild, moderate pain, swelling of the extremities, shortness of breath, rapid fatigability, and decreased physical activity.
- Arrhythmia. The frequency and sequence of heartbeats are disturbed. The patient has paroxysmal pain, a feeling of cardiac arrest, dizziness, fainting, abnormal tremors in the chest region.
Heart failure. The rupture of the cholesterol plaque is accompanied by the formation of a blood clot that clogs the artery. The blood stops carrying oxygen and nutrients. The heart stops working normally. There are strong, burning pains in the chest, nausea, the patient feels a lack of air, the limbs swell, and a clouding of consciousness appears.
Important! In acute insufficiency, the risk of developing myocardial infarction increases to 90%. If the attack is accompanied by a ruptured aneurysm, death occurs.
Depending on how quickly the patient seeks medical help, the prognosis of atherosclerosis will be positive or unfavorable. If the pathology is neglected to such an extent that foci of necrosis began to form in the myocardium, then there is a significant threat to life.
Treatment of atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels of the heart requires a heterogeneous, comprehensive approach and a long period of time.After an accurate drawing up of the clinical picture of the disease, medications and therapeutic measures are prescribed, which include:
- Hypolydemic drugs for removing excess lipids and fluid from body tissues from blood vessel cells;
- Beta blockers, inhibitors to reduce the oxygen demand of the heart. During treatment, this reduces the activity of the myocardium and the severity of symptoms.
- Anticoagulants to exclude the possibility of blood clots.
- Prescribing a special diet;
- Prohibition of smoking, alcoholic beverages;
- Moderate therapeutic physical activity to prevent stagnant processes;
- Weight loss to normalize metabolic processes and remove toxic substances from the body.
Treatment of atherosclerosis involves surgical methods when the development of the disease is in the last stages and the patient’s life is in danger.The way to solve the problem is determined by the cardiologist if conservative therapy has not been successful. Modern medicine offers the following types of surgical intervention:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting. Dentures are inserted into the vessels, which allow to restore blood circulation in the proper volume.
- Angioplasty. Mechanical expansion of coronary vessels, by introducing special catheters with a balloon. When the balloon is inflated, the cholesterol plaque is “flattened” and, accordingly, the capacity of the vessel is restored.
- Stenting. A rigid frame is introduced into the vessel cavity, which expands and fixes the lumen of the artery.
Preventive examination and early diagnosis will help to avoid dangerous surgical intervention. The initial stages of the disease respond well to treatment and prevention of dangerous complications.
Atherosclerosis of the aorta of the heart has two types of complications – chronic and acute. Chronic forms include vascular insufficiency, irreversible deformations of myocardial muscles, proliferation of defective connective tissue, oxygen starvation of the heart.Most often, the following pathologies appear:
Myocardial infarction is a necrotic scarring of muscle tissue associated with a lack of oxygen.
- Stroke – a violation of the myocardium, leading to the death of nerve cells in the brain, due to weak or extensive hemorrhage;
- Hypertension – persistent increase in blood pressure due to impaired blood circulation in the coronary vessels of the heart;
- Ischemic heart disease is a pathology with absolute or partial myocardial damage.
Acute complications pose a direct threat to life and are associated with the formation of blood clots and spasms in the blood vessels. These include:
- Aortic hematoma – an accumulation of blood between the walls of blood vessels. Manifested by fainting, severe chest pain. Requires immediate surgery.
Aneurysm – expansion of the vascular cavity caused by abnormal proliferation of connective tissue. A distinctive feature is a sudden rupture with large blood loss, which is asymptomatic.In most cases, it is fatal.
Important! Already at the first consultation with a cardiologist, you can learn about the presence of atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels. Visual inspection and listening – simple and, most importantly, timely diagnostic methods will help preserve health and life.
Who is at risk
Everyone, regardless of gender and age, can get atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Many factors contribute to this, ranging from social causes to poor ecology.
Guidelines for the assessment of risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases, developed on the basis of many years of research in the field of cardiology, highlight the following indicators:
- Men aged 50-55;
- Severe working conditions due to professional activities;
- Hereditary heart disease;
- Smoking, including passive smoking;
- Psychological disorders – stress, depression, depression;
- Diseases of the thyroid gland;
- Poor food, this definition includes fried, fatty, sweet and starchy foods, fast food.
A systemic risk assessment for the next 10 years can be set independently according to the well-known SCORE (Systemic COronary Risk Evaluation) scale proposed by American cardiologists.
The modern pace and rules of life put every second person at risk. Therefore, it is difficult to find better prevention of atherosclerosis of the heart vessels than regular preventive examinations. At the slightest suspicion, it is better to consult a cardiologist and adjust your lifestyle than to undergo long-term treatment, not always with a positive outcome.
Appointment for preventive examination
You can make an appointment with a cardiologist at the contacts indicated on the website or by contacting the nearest IMMA medical center. You will receive comprehensive information not only about the internal routine of the clinic, but also about modern research standards, methods of diagnosis and treatment. Medical and diagnostic assistance provided to patients in the cardiology department is carried out according to the recommendations of the WHO RF by doctors-cardiologists of the highest category and candidates of medical sciences.
How to deal with atherosclerosis? – Rossiyskaya Gazeta
Acute heart failure, angina pectoris, cerebrovascular accidents, heart attacks, strokes do not spare neither the elderly nor the young today. We have such diagnoses in 58 percent of certificates stating death.
At risk – all
Among those in whose name such sad certificates are issued, every year there are more and more young people who did not manage to live up to thirty. The last diagnosis for them is often the first: after all, outwardly they seemed to be absolutely healthy people.The cause of death is a chronic “shortage” of oxygen to the tissues of the heart and brain. And at some unexpected moment – its complete cessation.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, oxygen “underfeeding” and the blockade is organized by atherosclerosis. The literal translation from Greek is “hardening of gruel”. Gruel – Cholesterol (protein-related fat). It consists of the nucleus of cholesterol plaques disfiguring blood vessels. Over time, the nucleus grows with the connective tissue of the vessel injured by the plaque. Various substances, such as calcium, are involved in the formation of plaques.Similar “stalactites” and “stalagmites” are found during the autopsy of men who died in their third decade, in women – in the fourth. But until about 70 years of age, men hold the lead in terms of the prevalence of plaques. “Atherosclerotic gender equality” is restored only after eighty – in men and women who died at this and later age, the quality and “dislocation” of these formations are approximately the same. But, even complicated ones, they do not always kill plaques: in many people of mature age, atherosclerosis is sluggish.
First symptoms – immediately after birth
More than half a century ago, American doctors were amazed at the results of one massive pathological and anatomical examination. The bodies of young soldiers killed in the war in North Korea were subjected to it. In more than half of twenty-year-old boys, the lumen of the arteries feeding the heart was found to be twice the norm due to atherosclerotic growths. But the soldiers during their lifetime were examined more than once, and they did not complain about their health.
Atherosclerosis is invisible for the time being: the symptoms of the diseases generated by it appear when the vessels are already closed by three quarters. The very first deposits of cholesterol appear when … a person also cannot really walk. The so-called fat spots, spots and stripes appear in the aortas of half of children under one year old and in almost all (96 percent) between the ages of 4 and 16. However, by the time of puberty, all “hints of atherosclerosis” disappear. Nearly. About a tenth of them remain in “combat readiness”.
There are rare lucky people who do not have cholesterol plaques and never have. There are also “unhappy” people, for example, the owners of the liver, “not able” to recognize and remove cholesterol from the body. As a result, the blood is “overpopulated” with cholesterol, and in this case there can be no question of any disappearance of fatty stripes and stains by the beginning of adulthood.
According to statistics, about one person in five hundred has an “inept” liver. A predisposition to atherosclerosis can also cause other metabolic disorders. Inherited or developed due to diseases, dietary habits of the way of life. That is why the Americans, who have realized the danger, conduct prevention of atherosclerosis even in children. After all, even a not too large cholesterol plaque under unfavorable circumstances (increased blood pressure, physical stress) can crack and burst. And since the plaque “bathes in blood”, a blood clot forms around it – a thrombus. Such a blood clot most often blocks the blood flow.
Atherosclerotic deposits can form in a wide variety of arteries.If the renal artery is damaged, for example, the kidneys become ill. With damage to the arteries of the legs, intermittent claudication develops. (In men, it is usually preceded by the development of impotence. However, this does not mean that every limping man is impotent.) Plaques, fraught with blood clots, form mainly in the vessels that feed the heart and brain: in the aorta, coronary and carotid arteries. Moreover, in certain areas – in the areas of branching and folds of blood vessels – places where the blood pushed out of the heart especially “indelicately” comes into contact with the intravascular lining (it is called the endothelium).
What delicacy, though? With each beat (that is, 60 – 70 times per minute), the heart “hurls” a third of a glass of blood into practically the same area of the aorta. And under such pressure that portion by portion, this third of the glass comes into contact with the wall of the vessel at a speed of 25 meters per second. And so all my life …
Cholesterol, considered today the worst vascular destroyer, adheres only to damaged areas of the endothelium. And the more there are, the stronger the consequences. Indeed, in a healthy vessel, the endothelium can fight cholesterol, blood clots, and spasms.For example, if, having “tested” the composition of the blood, he “understands” that the vessels need to be dilated, he produces a vasodilator, and then there is no hypertension.
Healthy endothelium does not allow microorganisms to multiply in its tissues. And, by the way, there are a lot of them in cholesterol plaques. Mostly these are the causative agents of herpes and … colds. We are talking about one of the three known varieties of chlamydia – not the one that is sexually transmitted, but the one that enters the body when someone sneezes and coughs nearby.It causes acute respiratory infections and pneumonia. And today, research is underway to understand: does chlamydia enter ready-made cholesterol plaques or, on the contrary, takes an active part in their formation?
Helpers and accomplices
Diabetes, nervous, hormonal disorders, metabolic disorders, and diseases of the digestive system contribute to damage to the endothelium and the development of plaques. All this is a consequence of a violation of humoral regulation, that is, the coordination of processes occurring in the body through its liquid media (blood, lymph, tissue fluid).And the nervous system is in charge of all regulation. When its balance is disturbed, systems fail.
However, more often the balance is upset not so much because of life circumstances, but because of our reaction to them. The best neuro-hormonal background provides the type of human response that we call “benevolence”. It is benevolence and tranquility that give a chance for healing. After all, atherosclerotic plaques in the body not only form, but also disintegrate, “dissolve”, and the damaged endothelium is still restored.If you begin to live so that the process of recovery is faster than the process of destruction, the disease can be controlled.
By the way
The inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries are generally distinguished by good health. This is helped by the peculiarities of their cuisine – fresh fruits and vegetables, non-crushed cereals. But there is also something that does not fit into the concept of a healthy diet. For example, researchers have long tried to understand the “French” paradox.The bottom line is simple: French people consume as much, if not more, saturated fat than Americans, but the death rate from heart disease among men in France is less than 40 percent of the same rate for America. Why?
Most likely, the local dry red wine helps the French to protect themselves from heart ailments, which many of them drink one or two glasses a day. This is most likely due to the substance resveratrol, which is produced by red and black grapes during the ripening process to protect against fungus.This substance is essentially a natural pesticide. But as a result of animal studies conducted in Japan, it was found that resveratrol, in addition, helps to reduce the content of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
Citrus fruits also fight against fat and cholesterol, in particular the substance pectin, which is secreted from grapefruit. Pectin is a soluble fiber found only in citrus fruits themselves, but absent in juice. In an experiment conducted by researchers on animals that were fed a high-fat diet for a year, the number of plaques on the walls of blood vessels in patients with pectin and atherosclerosis was 62% less than in the control group.
1 percent of all deaths were attributed to cardiovascular disease in 1900. Since the mid-60s, atherosclerosis began to attack rapidly. Today, diseases of the heart and blood vessels are the cause of more than half of all deaths in the world.
How to help yourself without medication
Several simple ways to prevent disease
How to deal with atherosclerosis? To remove excess fat and cholesterol from the body, there are special medications.But, like any medicine, they have side effects.
Fortunately, atherosclerosis is very responsive to non-drug treatments and prophylaxis. Responsive to the point that even the World Health Organization recommends using them in the first place. Scientists claim that atherosclerosis is everyone’s disease, and cancer is by choice. That is, these diseases are based on the same disorders.
Calm, and only calm!
We have already said that benevolence, as a character trait, helps prevent illness.How do you feel about people and yourself? Here are some more tips.
1. In difficult life situations, try not to lose confidence. Remember that a depressed state of mind knocks all body systems out of rhythm.
2. See your doctor regularly to monitor your blood cholesterol levels.
3. Measure your blood pressure often.
4. Move more. This helps to keep all the processes going on in the body in balance and fight excess weight.
5. Stop smoking. Nicotine destroys the endothelium. The amino acid taurine helps to neutralize the effect of nicotine at least partially – it is especially abundant in fatty fish. Enough 100 grams of such fish per day.
Don’t turn food into an enemy
To prevent atherosclerosis, you should limit the consumption of egg yolks, liver, kidneys, brains, lard, butter, sour cream and fatty meats.
The milk you consume must contain no more than 1 percent fat.
Cooking should only be done with vegetable oil (sunflower or olive).
Of meat products, skinless chicken and turkey, young lamb, veal, and lean beef are preferred.
We need to eat more fish. Fatty is especially good, but any boiled and stewed is useful – preferably not fried or salted.
The basis of the diet should be plant foods: vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, cereals, fruits.
It is good to include the following gifts of nature in salads and teas:
beets, apples, garlic;
black currant, seaweed;
cabbage, onions, garlic, lingonberries, strawberries;
dandelion, clover, acacia flowers;
leaves of linden, raspberry, strawberry, black currant;
larch needles, hop cones;
tops of beets, carrots, radishes, radishes, celery, rhubarb, asparagus.
Dressing salads is better with sour milk, horseradish, applesauce.
But to be treated with “herbs for atherosclerosis”, you need to know well all their properties, and all your diseases too. Take plantain, for example. It fights bacteria perfectly, but at the same time it can dramatically lower blood pressure. What if it is already low for you? And will plantain lower it when you drive or cross the road? That is why competent herbalists treat not one, but several (sometimes 10 – 15) herbs at once.The herbs cancel out possible unwanted effects. But remember: it is dangerous to make a collection for yourself using a book on your own. Herbs can do a lot, but only under the supervision of a competent specialist.
And one more thing: the manifestations of atherosclerosis are many-sided and, as already mentioned, are noticeable mainly only at the serious stages of the disease. Therefore, it is even better to prevent atherosclerosis with regular medical examinations.
List of main conditions and diseases caused by atherosclerosis
Clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis
August 15, 2019
Atherosclerosis – damage to the arteries, accompanied by cholesterol deposits in the inner lining of blood vessels, narrowing of their lumen and malnutrition of the blood-supplied organ. Atherosclerosis can lead to disability and premature death. In recent years, the incidence of atherosclerosis has reached alarming proportions, outstripping such causes as injuries, infectious and oncological diseases in terms of the risk of loss of working capacity, disability and mortality. With the greatest frequency, atherosclerosis affects men over 45-50 years of age (3-4 times more often than women), but occurs in younger patients.
It is believed that atherosclerosis goes through several stages in its development:
Stage I – lipid (or fat) stain. For the deposition of fat in the vascular wall, microdamage to the walls of the arteries and local slowing down of blood flow play an essential role. Areas of branching of blood vessels are most susceptible to atherosclerosis. The duration of the lipid spot stage is different. Such fatty spots are visible only under a microscope and can be found even in infants.
Stage II – liposclerosis. It is characterized by the growth of young connective tissue in the areas of fatty deposits. Gradually, an atherosclerotic plaque is formed, consisting of fats and connective tissue fibers. At this stage, atherosclerotic plaques are still liquid and can be dissolved. On the other hand, they are dangerous, since their loose surface can rupture, and plaque fragments can clog the lumen of the arteries. The wall of the vessel at the site of attachment of the atheromatous plaque loses its elasticity, cracks and ulcerates, leading to the formation of blood clots, which are also a source of potential danger.
Stage III – atherocalcinosis. Further plaque formation is associated with its compaction and the deposition of calcium salts in it. Atherosclerotic plaque can behave steadily or gradually grow, deforming and narrowing the lumen of the artery, causing a progressive chronic disturbance of the blood supply to the organ fed by the affected artery. At the same time, there is a high probability of acute blockage (occlusion) of the lumen of the vessel by a thrombus or fragments of a disintegrated atherosclerotic plaque with the development of a site of infarction (necrosis) or gangrene in the blood-supplied artery of a limb or organ.
Factors for the development of atherosclerosis
Factors influencing the development of atherosclerosis are divided into three groups: irreparable, removable and potentially removable.
Fatal factors include those that cannot be excluded by volitional or medical influence. These include:
- Age. The risk of developing atherosclerosis increases with age. Atherosclerotic vascular changes are observed to some extent in all people after 40-50 years.
- Floor. In men, the development of atherosclerosis occurs ten years earlier and exceeds the incidence rate of atherosclerosis among women by 4 times. After 50-55 years, the incidence of atherosclerosis among women and men levels off. This is due to a decrease in the production of estrogens and their protective function in women during menopause.
- Complicated family inheritance. Often, atherosclerosis develops in patients whose relatives suffer from this disease. It has been proved that heredity for atherosclerosis contributes to the early (up to 50 years) development of the disease, while after 50 years of age genetic factors do not play a leading role in its development.
Eliminating factors of atherosclerosis are those that can be eliminated by the person himself by changing his usual lifestyle. These include:
- Smoking. Its influence on the development of atherosclerosis is explained by the negative effect of nicotine and tar on the vessels. Long-term smoking several times increases the risk of hyperlipidemia, arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease.
- Unbalanced nutrition. Eating large amounts of animal fats accelerates the development of atherosclerotic vascular changes.
- Hypodenomy. Leading a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the violation of fat metabolism and the development of obesity, diabetes mellitus, vascular atherosclerosis.
Potentially and partially avoidable risk factors include those chronic disorders and diseases that can be corrected through prescribed treatment. These include:
- Arterial hypertension. Against the background of high blood pressure, conditions are created for increased saturation of the vascular wall with fats, which contributes to the formation of an atherosclerotic plaque.On the other hand, the decreased elasticity of the arteries in atherosclerosis contributes to the maintenance of high blood pressure.
- Dyslipidemia. Violation of fat metabolism in the body, manifested by an increased content of cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins, plays a leading role in the development of atherosclerosis.
- Obesity and diabetes mellitus. Increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis by 5-7 times. This is due to the violation of fat metabolism, which underlies these diseases and is the trigger mechanism for atherosclerotic vascular lesions.
- Infection and intoxication. Infectious and toxic agents have a damaging effect on the vascular walls, contributing to their atherosclerotic changes.
Knowledge of the factors contributing to the development of atherosclerosis is especially important for its prevention, since the influence of removable and potentially removable circumstances can be weakened or completely excluded. Elimination of unfavorable factors can significantly slow down and facilitate the development of atherosclerosis.
Symptoms of atherosclerosis
The clinical symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the type of arteries affected.
Ø The manifestation of atherosclerosis of the coronary vessels is angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and cardiosclerosis, consistently reflecting the stages of circulatory insufficiency of the heart.
Ø The course of aortic atherosclerosis is long and asymptomatic for a long time, even in severe forms. Clinically, atherosclerosis of the thoracic aorta is manifested by aorthalgia – pressing or burning pains behind the sternum, radiating to the arms, back, neck, upper abdomen. Unlike pain in angina pectoris, aorthalgia can last for several hours and days, periodically weakening or worsening. A decrease in the elasticity of the aortic walls causes an increase in the work of the heart, leading to hypertrophy of the left ventricular myocardium.
Ø Atherosclerotic lesion of the abdominal aorta is manifested by pain in the abdomen of various localization, flatulence, constipation. With atherosclerosis of the bifurcation of the abdominal aorta, numbness and coldness of the legs, edema and hyperemia of the feet, necrosis and ulcers of the toes, intermittent claudication are observed.
Ø The manifestations of atherosclerosis of the mesenteric arteries are attacks of “abdominal toad” and impaired digestive function due to insufficient blood supply to the intestines. In patients, the appearance of sharp pains a few hours after eating is noted. The pain is localized in the navel or upper abdomen. The duration of the painful attack is from several minutes to 1-3 hours, sometimes the pain syndrome is stopped by taking nitroglycerin. Bloating, belching, constipation, palpitations, and increased blood pressure appear.Later, fetid diarrhea with fragments of undigested food and undigested fat join.
Ø Atherosclerosis of the renal arteries leads to the development of arterial hypertension. Erythrocytes, protein, casts are determined in urine. With unilateral atherosclerotic lesions of the arteries, there is a slow progression of hypertension, accompanied by persistent changes in the urine and persistently high blood pressure. Bilateral damage to the renal arteries causes malignant arterial hypertension.
Ø With atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, there is a decrease in memory, mental and physical performance, attention, intelligence, dizziness, sleep disturbances. In cases of severe atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, the behavior and psyche of the patient changes. Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the brain can be complicated by acute disturbance of cerebral circulation, thrombosis, hemorrhage.
Ø The manifestations of obliterating atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower extremities are weakness and pain in the calf muscles of the lower leg, numbness and chilliness of the legs.The development of the syndrome of “intermittent claudication” is characteristic (pain in the calf muscles occurs when walking and subside at rest). Cold snap, pallor of the extremities, trophic disorders (peeling and dry skin, development of trophic ulcers and dry gangrene) are noted.
In the treatment of atherosclerosis, the following principles are adhered to:
- restriction of cholesterol entering the body and reduction of its synthesis by tissue cells;
- enhancing the excretion of cholesterol and its metabolites from the body;
- use of estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women;
- impact on infectious agents.
Cholesterol intake from food is limited by the appointment of a diet that excludes cholesterol-containing foods. For the drug treatment of atherosclerosis, individually selected groups of drugs are used, depending on the clinical symptoms and the characteristics of the course of the disease in a particular patient. Surgical treatment for atherosclerosis is indicated in cases of high threat or development of arterial occlusion by plaque or thrombus. With severe atherosclerosis of the vessels of the heart, threatening the development of myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting is performed.
Prognosis and prevention of atherosclerosis
The prognosis of atherosclerosis is largely determined by the behavior and lifestyle of the patient himself. Elimination of possible risk factors and active drug therapy can delay the development of atherosclerosis and improve the patient’s condition. With the development of acute circulatory disorders with the formation of foci of necrosis in the organs, the prognosis worsens.
In order to prevent atherosclerosis, it is necessary to quit smoking, eliminate the stress factor, switch to low-fat and cholesterol-poor food, systematic physical activity in proportion to opportunities and age, normalization of weight. It is advisable to include in the diet foods containing fiber, vegetable fats (flaxseed and olive oils) that dissolve cholesterol deposits. The progression of atherosclerosis can be slowed down by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Why is atherosclerosis dangerous?
About what kind of disease it is, what are its precursors, is it possible to cure atherosclerosis?
– Natalia Vyacheslavovna, to begin with, tell us what kind of ailment it is – atherosclerosis?
– Atherosclerosis in Greek means gruel, induration, hardening. It is a common chronic arterial disease characterized by the formation of single or multiple foci of cholesterol deposits. Simply put, “plaques” form on the inner lining of the arteries, which partially or completely cover the arteries themselves. This leads to the fact that a person has circulatory disorders.
– Who is most often affected by the disease?
– There are forms of the disease in which atherosclerotic vascular disease occurs as early as 20 – 30 years old. But mostly older people get sick. At 40 – 49 years, the incidence of atherosclerosis in men is three times higher than in women. At an older age, gender differences no longer play a significant role. But it should be noted that before the age of 59, men suffer from atherosclerosis twice as often as women, but after 70 years of this disease, both are equally susceptible.
– What is the reason for this phenomenon?
– It’s simple: women are protected by their sex hormones – estrogens. But with age, their level decreases, respectively, the risk of developing atherosclerosis increases.
– Does the inheritance factor matter?
– Unfortunately, yes. The most severe forms of atherosclerosis are those with hereditary diseases. Familial hypercholesterolemia (elevated blood cholesterol levels) is a very serious pathology.The risk of developing coronary heart disease and strokes in these people is 10 to 20 times higher than in those who are not burdened with this inheritance. By the age of 30 in such patients, the vessels of the heart and brain are affected. Fortunately, this pathology is not very common: about 1 – 2 people out of five hundred suffer from it.
– What else can provoke the development of the disease?
– There are many reasons. The most common are smoking, overweight, high blood pressure, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, gout, cholelithiasis, malnutrition, and constant psycho-emotional overstrain also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Smoking doubles the risk of atherosclerosis. In smokers, under the influence of substances contained in tobacco smoke, an increase in heart rate occurs, a spasm (narrowing) of blood vessels develops, which leads to difficulty in the work of the heart.
– What changes occur in the human body suffering from atherosclerosis?
– In healthy people, blood flows freely through the arteries to all parts of the body, supplying them with oxygen and other nutrients.But in a person who has an elevated level of cholesterol in the blood, atherosclerotic plaques begin to form on the inner surface of the blood vessels. The next stage in the development of atherosclerosis is the appearance of blood clots, which further narrow the lumen of the artery. It is very dangerous! If the vessels of the heart are damaged, myocardial infarction develops, and if the arteries supplying the brain are affected, a stroke may occur.
– Is it really impossible to prevent the development of the disease?
– It is possible, but it is not easy.The fact is that a person begins to feel the first signs of a lack of blood supply only when the lumen of the artery narrows by more than half. In this case, it is no longer a matter of preventing the disease, but of treating atherosclerosis.
That is why, if you or your loved ones are at risk of developing this disease, be more careful about the signals that your body gives. If you periodically experience a feeling of weakness or numbness (for example, arms or legs), for some time the ability to articulate speech is lost, contact a specialist immediately.Usually, such symptoms disappear completely within a day, and the person calms down, does not go to the doctor. Meanwhile, in no case can you ignore such symptoms! These may be the first “bells” of a stroke.
– It is generally accepted that this disease is a companion of old age …
– Insidious delusion! Aging is a physiological and irreversible process, and atherosclerosis is a specific disease that can be treated. Moreover, the sooner the patient seeks a doctor, the better. With atherosclerosis, a person begins to change gradually: at first, his attention decreases, it becomes difficult to perceive new information.Then the circle of interests narrows, difficulties appear when switching from one type of activity to another, speed in work is lost. Those who are engaged in mental work more and more often encounter mistakes, slow thinking appears, activity and initiative decrease …
With progressive atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, the memory of patients worsens, mental performance decreases: a person can hardly remember what he did yesterday , what he negotiated, with whom he met and even what he ate for lunch.Further – more: begins to forget names and patronymics, phone numbers of friends, relatives. The memory of childhood and school is retained for the longest time, but it is also gradually erased. In the severe stage of the disease, only fragments of incoherent memories, unfinished thoughts and words incomprehensible to him remain in the memory of a person …
– Thanks to fluorography, mankind has learned to recognize tuberculosis in a timely manner. Is it possible, by examining the vessels of the brain, to find out if this or that person has signs of atherosclerosis?
– You can.Modern examination methods such as ultrasound Doppler ultrasound can detect this disease at an early stage. Doppler ultrasonography can be done today in many clinics in Yaroslavl. This examination is especially necessary for those who are in the so-called risk group, since it allows you to recognize the disease in time and avoid a stroke.
– Natalia Vyacheslavovna, how is atherosclerosis treated?
– Currently, effective surgical methods are used to treat atherosclerosis and its consequences: in some cases, the lumen of the narrowed vessel is expanded, in others, the atherosclerotic plaques themselves are removed, in the third, they replace part of the affected vessel and create new pathways for blood flow.There is also a large arsenal of tablets that lower blood cholesterol levels.
To fight atherosclerosis, you will have to change your life in general. It is necessary to move more, walk on foot, give up bad habits, and, if possible, avoid negative emotions. And you should start with the normalization of weight and the transition to the so-called anti-sclerotic diet.
– Readers ask if it is possible to make an appointment with the specialists of your department and to you personally, and how best to do it.
– You can make an appointment, the staff of our department is receiving patients. To do this, you need to call: 44-96-54, 91-90-03, 73-97-74, you will be assigned the date and time of the appointment.
BASICS OF ANTISCLEROTIC DIET
1. Calorie restriction to 2700 kcal with normal body weight, and in excess – up to 2000 – 2400 kcal / day.
2. Restriction of animal fat and cholesterol-rich foods, in particular by-products: liver, kidneys, lungs, brains, as well as liver sausage and egg yolks (no more than 5 pieces per week).
3. Exclusion from the diet of chocolate, cocoa, butter dough.
4. Restriction of sugar and other sweets (no more than 70 g per day).
5. Restriction of the so-called extractive substances (found in meat and fish broths, mushroom broths, fried meat and fish).
6. Introduction to the diet of products with anti-sclerotic effect: vegetable, peanut, flaxseed, cottonseed, corn, sunflower oil, cottage cheese, fresh low-fat fish (especially cod), oatmeal, buckwheat and millet groats, soy flour products.
Atherosclerosis – ProMedicine Ufa
is a common, progressive disease that affects the large and medium arteries as a result of the accumulation of cholesterol in them, leading to impaired circulation.
Atherosclerosis is considered one of the most dangerous diseases that leads to death. Atherosclerosis is recognized most often when there are problems with the blood supply to the heart, limbs and brain, that is, the disease is diagnosed already in the last stages.Atherosclerosis is one of the main causes of the development of cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.
The reasons for the development of atherosclerosis can be changeable and unchangeable (modifiable and non-modifiable). The following can be distinguished as unchanged factors:
– Gender. Atherosclerosis in men develops about 10 years earlier. In addition, before the age of 50, the risk of developing this disease in men is four times higher than in women, respectively.Upon reaching the threshold of 50 years of age, the incidence of both sexes becomes equal.
– Age. With age, the risk of developing the disease we are considering increases. Accordingly, the older the person, the greater this risk. And, of course, it is also impossible to influence this factor, therefore it is considered in this particular group.
– Genetic predisposition. This risk factor is also unchanged when considering atherosclerosis. Particularly susceptible to this disease are those patients whose immediate relatives have been diagnosed with one form or another.Modifiable causes, in turn, are characterized by the fact that the patient can influence them. This may include lifestyle adjustments, treatment. Among them are:
– Arterial hypertension. The peculiarity of the effect of hypertension is that against its background there is an increase in the intensity of the saturation of arterial walls with fat, which, in turn, is considered as the initial stage in the development of the main manifestation of atherosclerosis, atherosclerotic plaque.
– Smoking.This factor is a serious help for the development of many diseases, and atherosclerosis is no exception. With prolonged smoking, the risk of developing the hypertension considered above, as a predisposing factor for the development of atherosclerosis, increases, which already allows us to trace the chain of changes that are relevant in this case.
– Obesity. Obesity predisposes not only to the development of atherosclerosis itself, but also to one of the factors already listed by us, arterial hypertension, which in any case connects this factor with the disease we are considering.Additionally, we note that obesity is also one of the main factors in the development of diabetes mellitus, which also plays an important role in considering the modifiable factors of interest to us.
– Diabetes mellitus. The relevance of this factor for patients significantly increases the risk of developing and atherosclerosis (approximately 5-7 times). Such a high risk is explained by the relevance of metabolic disorders (in particular, this concerns fats), which provokes the development of atherosclerotic changes in the vessels.
– Hyperlipidemia (dyslipidemia). This factor implies a violation in the metabolism of fats, which determines its no less significant role in considering the factors provoking atherosclerosis. It should be noted that all of the above factors are directly related to dyslipidemia, that is, with each of them, the problem of fat metabolism disorders is relevant.
– Power supply features. The development of atherosclerosis, in particular, is influenced by the presence of a significant amount of animal fats in the diet.
– Inactivity (sedentary lifestyle). Due to the reduced physical activity, as you might guess, the metabolic processes of carbohydrates and fats are disrupted, due to which, accordingly, the risk of developing these disorders and atherosclerosis in particular increases.
– Infections. The infectious nature of the development of atherosclerosis began to be considered relatively recently. Based on the studies carried out, it was found that cytomegalovirus and chlamydial infections can be considered as two options representing this item in its connection with atherosclerosis.
General examination reveals signs of atherosclerotic lesions of the vessels of internal organs: edema, trophic disorders, weight loss, multiple wen on the body, etc. Auscultation of the vessels of the heart and aorta reveals systolic murmurs. Atherosclerosis is evidenced by a change in arterial pulsation, an increase in blood pressure, etc.
Laboratory data indicate an increased level of blood cholesterol, low density lipoproteins, triglycerides.
X-ray aortography reveals signs of aortic atherosclerosis: its elongation, induration, calcification, expansion in the abdominal or thoracic regions, the presence of aneurysms. The condition of the coronary arteries is determined by coronary angiography.
Violations of blood flow in other arteries are determined by angiography – contrast radiography of the vessels. In atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower extremities, according to angiography, their obliteration is recorded.
With the help of USDG of the vessels of the kidneys, atherosclerosis of the renal arteries and the corresponding impairment of renal function are detected.
Methods of ultrasound diagnostics of the arteries of the heart, lower extremities, aorta, carotid arteries record a decrease in the main blood flow through them, the presence of atheromatous plaques and blood clots in the lumens of the vessels.