Atherosclerosis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Atherosclerosis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

What are the 3 main causes of atherosclerosis?What are three symptoms of atherosclerosis?What is the main treatment for atherosclerosis?Is atherosclerosis can be cured?

Plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the arteries. The arteries in your body are responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Arteries are blood vessels.

Plaque is a buildup of fatty deposits, cholesterol, and calcium that can occur in the arteries as a natural consequence of ageing. Plaque buildup makes it difficult for blood to pass through your arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular problems. This buildup has the potential to take place in any artery in your body, including those surrounding your heart, legs, brain, and kidneys.

It has the potential to reduce the amount of blood and oxygen that reach various tissues in your body. It’s also possible for pieces of plaque to break off and cause a blood clot this way. Atherosclerosis, if left untreated, can result in a number of serious illnesses, including but not limited to heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

The development of atherosclerosis is a condition that is frequently observed in older people. This illness can be avoided altogether, and there are a variety of treatments that are effective.

The hardening of the arteries is referred to as arteriosclerosis, and atherosclerosis is a subtype of this condition. Even though they refer to slightly distinct illnesses, the terms “atherosclerosis” and “arteriosclerosis” are frequently used interchangeably.

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What signs and symptoms are associated with atherosclerosis?

The majority of the symptoms of atherosclerosis won’t present themselves until there is a blockage. Among the most common symptoms are:

chest pain or angina pain in your leg, arm, or anywhere else that has a blocked artery cramping in the buttocks while walking shortness of breath fatigue confusion, which occurs if the blockage affects circulation to your brain shortness of breath while walking loss of motor or sensory function on one side of the body, which occurs if the blockage affects circulation to the brain muscle weakness in your legs from lack of circulation chest pain or angina pain in your leg or arm muscle weakness in your legs from lack of circulation

In addition to this, it is essential to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and a stroke. Atherosclerosis is a potential contributor to both of these conditions, which call for prompt medical intervention.

The following are some of the signs of a heart attack:

ache or discomfort in the chest

distress in the musculature of the shoulders, back, neck, and arms, as well as the jaw

abdominal pain

lightheadedness, loss of breath, and sweating are all symptoms.

nausea or vomiting a sense of imminent doom

The following are some of the signs of a stroke:

symptoms such as facial or limb paralysis or numbness

challenges with speaking problems with comprehending speech troubles with seeing

a lack of equilibrium

unexpected, intense headache

Both heart attacks and strokes are considered to be urgent medical situations. If you encounter signs of a heart attack or stroke, you should immediately dial 911 or the number for your local emergency services and go to the emergency department of a nearby hospital as soon as you can.

What are the factors that lead to atherosclerosis?

When plaque accumulates in the arteries and the arteries become stiff and irritated, it is difficult for blood to circulate through the arteries and reach the rest of the body. Because of this, your organs and tissues are deprived of the oxygenated blood that is necessary for them to carry out their functions.

The following are some of the most common factors that contribute to the hardening of the arteries:

Poor cholesterol management

Cholesterol is a waxy chemical that is yellow in colour and can be found naturally within the body as well as in some foods that you eat. Cholesterol can also be obtained from animal products.

If you have abnormally high levels of cholesterol in your blood, it may cause blockages in your arteries. It eventually turns into a rigid plaque that restricts or halts the flow of blood to your heart and other organs in your body.

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Consuming food that is good for you is really vital. The American Heart Association (AHA), a reliable source, suggests that you adhere to a generally healthy dietary pattern that places an emphasis on the following factors:

a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, chicken and fish without the skin, nuts, and legumes; dairy products with low fat and protein.

vegetable oils are derived from non-tropical plants, such as olive or sunflower.

Other helpful dietary advice:

Sugar-sweetened beverages, candies, aaddednd desserts are examples of meals and drinks that should be avoided because they contain additional sugar. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average woman should consume no more than six teaspoons, which is equivalent to 100 calories, of sugar daily, while the average man should consume no more than nine teaspoons, which is equivalent to 150 calories.

Eat fewer foods that are heavy in salt. Try to keep your daily intake of sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrammes as a trusted source. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t eat more than 1,500 mg in a single day.

Steer clear of meals that are high in harmful fats like trans fats and others. Substitute them with unsaturated fats, which will provide you with higher health benefits. If you want to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood, you should limit the amount of saturated fat you consume to no more than 5 to 6 percent of your overall calorie intake. Someone who consumes 2,000 calories per day would have approximately 13 grammes of saturated fat in their diet.


As you become older, your cardiovascular system, including your heart and blood arteries, has to work harder to pump and receive blood. It’s possible that your arteries will harden and lose some of their elasticity, leaving them more vulnerable to plaque development.

How can one tell whether they have atherosclerosis?

If you show signs of atherosclerosis, your primary care physician will do a physical exam on you. They are going to look for:

a weaker pulse, an aneurysm, which is an abnormal bulging or widening of an artery due to weakness of the arterial wall, slow wound healing, which indicates a restricted blood flow, a bruit, which is a whooshing sound the blood makes as it travels through the blocked artery, and an irregular heartbeat are all signs of a restricted blood flow.

A cardiologist will listen to your heart to see whether or not it makes any sounds that are not typical. If your doctor suspects that you may have atherosclerosis, they will have you undergo more testing.

Among the possible tests are:

a test of your blood to determine the amounts of cholesterol in your body

an ultrasound called a Doppler uses sound waves to produce an image of the artery and determine whether or not there is a blockage in it.

a cardiac angiogram, which is a type of chest X-ray that is taken after your heart arteries are injected with radioactive dye an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which measures the electrical activity in your heart to look for an irregular heartbeat an ankle-brachial index, which looks for a blockage in your arms or legs by comparing the blood pressure in each limb a magnetic resonance angiography or a computed tomography angiography, which create pictures

a stress test, also known as an exercise tolerance test, is when you exercise on a machine like a treadmill or stationary bicycle while having your heart rate and blood pressure monitored.

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What kind of treatment is there for atherosclerosis?

The treatment entails making modifications to one’s way of life in order to lower the total quantity of fat and cholesterol that is consumed. You can boost the health of your heart and blood vessels by engaging in additional physical activity.

Alterations to one’s way of life may be the first line of defence that your physician suggests. There is a possibility that you will require further medical treatments in addition to these, such as medicine or surgery.

Medication It’s possible that medication could help stop the progression of atherosclerosis.

Medications such as the following are used to treat atherosclerosis:

medications that lower cholesterol, such as statins; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which may lower blood pressure; beta-blockers, which “relax” the heart; antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, to prevent blood clots and artery blockage; and

People who have a history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, may benefit significantly from taking aspirin. If you have already been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, discussing an aspirin programme with your physician could potentially lessen the likelihood of you experiencing another adverse health event.

As of recent, revised recommendations on the use of aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease have been made available by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. It’s possible that these rules will come up in conversations you have with your physician.

You should only take aspirin as a preventive drug if your risk of bleeding is low and your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is high. If you have a family history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, you should not take aspirin. Always see your primary care provider before beginning an aspirin regimen.


If the symptoms are really severe or if there is a risk to the muscle or skin tissue, surgical intervention may be required.

The following surgical procedures are among those that may be used to treat atherosclerosis:

thrombolytic therapy, in which a drug is injected into your affected artery in an effort to dissolve a blood clot that has formed there; bypass surgery, in which a vessel from another part of your body or a synthetic tube is utilised in order to reroute blood flow around your blocked or narrowed artery; and

angioplasty and percutaneous coronary intervention, which involve using a catheter and a balloon to expand your artery, and sometimes inserting a stent to keep the artery open angiectomy, which involves removing plaque from your arteries by using a catheter with a sharp blade at one end endarterectomy, which involves surgically removing fatty deposits from your artery endarterectomy, which involves surgically removing plaque from your artery Endarterectomy is a procedure that involves

Who should be concerned about developing atherosclerosis?

There are a number of things that can put you at risk of developing atherosclerosis. While some of the risk factors can be altered, others cannot be changed.

The past of the family

If someone in your family has already been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, there is a good chance that you may also develop the condition. This illness, in addition to other heart-related issues, can be passed on via families.

A lack of physical activity

Exercising on a consistent basis is beneficial for the heart. It maintains the strength of the muscle in your heart and promotes the circulation of oxygen and blood throughout your body.

Your chance of developing a number of different medical disorders, including heart disease, goes up when you don’t get enough exercise.

Unhealthy levels of blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, your blood vessels can be damaged because it makes them weaker in some locations. Over time, the cholesterol in your blood and the other compounds in your blood may cause your arteries to become less flexible.


Consuming tobacco products can cause harm to the heart and blood vessels in your body.


Diabetes is associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary artery disease in patients.

What kinds of health problems are related with atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis can result in the following:

cardiac insufficiency

assault of the heart

a stroke caused by an irregular heart beat

In addition to this, it causes the following diseases:

Disease of the coronary arteries (CAD)

Coronary arteries are blood channels that supply oxygen and blood to the muscular tissue of your heart. They are also called coronary arteries. The hardening of the coronary arteries is what causes coronary artery disease (CAD).

Disease of the carotid artery

The carotid arteries are located in the neck and are responsible for delivering blood to the brain.

If plaque builds up in the walls of these arteries, the integrity of the arteries could be endangered. Because of the absence of circulation, the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the tissue and cells of your brain may be reduced.

Disease of the peripheral arteries

Your arteries are responsible for delivering oxygen and blood to the tissues of your lower body, which includes your legs and arms. In certain parts of the body, difficulties with circulation might be caused by the arteries being hardened.

Disease of the kidneys

Your kidneys receive their blood supply from the renal arteries. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste materials and excess water from the blood.

Kidney failure is a potential consequence of atherosclerosis in these arteries.

Which modifications to one’s way of life are most helpful in the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis?

Alterations to one’s way of life can be beneficial in preventing and treating atherosclerosis, particularly for persons who have type 2 diabetes.

Alterations to one’s lifestyle that are beneficial include:

maintaining a healthy weight by adhering to a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats

avoiding meals that are high in fat

You should try substituting fish for red meat in your diet twice a week.

achieving either a weekly total of at least 75 minutes of strenuous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise.

quitting smoking If you are a smoker, keeping a weight that is normal and healthy for you is really important.

managing stress

the treatment of diseases that are related to atherosclerosis, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, being overweight, and diabetes


It’s possible that your treatment will result in an improvement in your health, but it could take some time. The effectiveness of your treatment will be determined by the following:

the seriousness of your current condition

how quickly it was treated and whether or not other organs were impacted are two important factors.

The process of the arteries becoming more rigid is irreversible. Alterations to one’s food and lifestyle, in addition to the treatment of the condition’s underlying cause, can, however, assist to slow down the progression of the condition or even stop it from growing worse.

Make the appropriate adjustments to your way of life by working closely with your primary care physician. They will assist you in locating the appropriate meds to get your illness under control and ward off any issues that may arise.

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