Arteriosclerosis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Under normal conditions, your arteries are flexible, healthy, and do not have any deposits inside them that ensure adequate blood flow. But they can sometimes harden, and some deposits can reside inside them- a condition known as arteriosclerosis. It can eventually result in the blocking of the blood vessel, hence restricting blood flow. 


Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis, but both terms can be often used interchangeably. Arteriosclerosis is mainly a disease of the cardiovascular system. But it can affect the other parts of your body too. 



Arteriosclerosis can block the coronary arteries- the blood vessel that supplies oxygen to your heart, helping it work properly. In any case, if your coronary arteries are blocked, or narrowed, this causes pain in your heart due to lack of oxygen. If the treatment is delayed, a heart attack can lead to tissue scarring, hence permanent damage due to a lack of oxygen.




Understanding the normal function of the heart


Your heart has four chambers, and two sides. The left side and the right side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to your lungs to receive oxygen, while the left side of your heart receives that blood from the lungs and pumps it to the whole body. 

The heart does all this work in two phases. First, the chambers of the heart relax to fill the blood known as diastole. Then, the heart contracts to eject the blood-filled in the chambers, the phase is known as systole.



Symptoms of arteriosclerosis 


Arteriosclerosis can show different symptoms depending on the part of the body it occurs in. 


Arteriosclerosis, when occurs in the heart, can cause angina. It typically presents as chest pain that is gripping or pressuring in character. It is felt under the chest bone, and it might feel like someone is pressing on your chest. It is never felt as a sharp or stabbing pain. The pain may travel to your jaw, neck, and back- known as radiation of the pain. 


Arteriosclerosis, when occurs in the brain, can show the following signs and symptoms. 


  • Difficulty or slurred speech

  • Numbness or weakness in arms or legs

  • Temporary loss of vision 

  • Drooping muscles of the face

If these symptoms are left untreated, it can lead to stroke. 

Arteriosclerosis, when occurs in the arteries of the arms or legs, can show the following signs and symptoms.


  • Leg pain 

  • Cold feet

  • The leg is pale when raised and red when lowered

  • A burning feeling in the arms or legs

  • Impotence in men 


Arteriosclerosis, when occurs in the kidney, can lead to kidney failure or high blood pressure due to impaired blood flow towards it. 



Risk Factors

The following risk factors increase your chance of getting arteriosclerosis and hence coronary artery diseases or heart attack.


  • Positive family history

  • Hypertension

  • Smoking 

  • High cholesterol levels in the blood

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Age (greater for men over 45 years and women over 55 years)


Prevention 

Prevention of arteriosclerosis can help prevent coronary artery diseases and heart attacks. It can be prevented by practicing the following measures. 


  • Smoking cessation

  • Blood pressure monitoring

  • Having a diet with low cholesterol levels

  • Exercising regularly

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Consuming fewer sugars and monitoring blood sugar levels for diabetes prevention


Conclusion 


Arteriosclerosis, up to some extent, is a treatable and preventable medical condition. By making little lifestyle changes like being physically active, consuming a healthy diet, and visiting a doctor for proper monitoring, you can reduce the chances of arteriosclerosis, hence coronary artery diseases, stroke, and heart attack. 

If you notice the above-mentioned symptoms, and they don’t get away with rest, it is highly advisable to see your doctor on time. Timely management of these symptoms can prevent arteriosclerosis that leads to stroke or a heart attack.


Doctors For Arteriosclerosis

Dr. Gohar Saeed

Cardiologist

27 Years

Dr. Nouman Kazmi

Cardiologist

5 Years

Prof. Dr. Zamir A Siddiqui

Cardiologist

31 Years

Dr. Waqar Azim

Cardiologist

10 Years

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