Arteries are the blood vessels that transport oxygenated blood from heart to the various body organs as well as tissues. Hardening of the arteries is called Arteriosclerosis. Over time, fatty substances known as plaques or atheromas deposit within the arteries. They block the arteries and disrupt normal blood circulation. Affected arteries loose elasticity. Atherosclerosis is also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD). It is classified as coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary heart disease (CHD). Apart from cholesterol, calcium deposits (calcification) on the artery walls lead to hardening and thickening of the arteries. A fatty deposit (plaque) on the interior lining of the arterial walls causes hypertension. Arteriosclerosis reduces artery's diameter and blood flow. It can cause a cerebral stroke due to 100% blockage of the carotid arteries. Peripheral Artery Disease also termed as "Arteriosclerosis Obliterans" block the limb arteries.
Arteriosclerosis is a progressive disease. It does not develop all of a sudden. There are few or no symptoms until an artery becomes completely blocked. High blood pressure, chest You do not have access to view this node, palpitations, dyspnea, fatigue, cyanosis, and edema are some of the symptoms associated with Arteriosclerosis. However, it is not easy to diagnose Arteriosclerosis. Moreover, symptoms vary from person to person.
Healthy arteries are flexible as well as elastic. However, smoking, alcohol consumption, and high-fat diet make them thick and stiff. The easy flow of blood gets restricted. Eventually, it leads to Arteriosclerosis. Apart from the factors discussed above, there are other critical components contributing to the disease:
Healthy lifestyle and regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of Arteriosclerosis. Strict avoidance of saturated fats control LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Reduced sodium and alcohol intake decreases the risk of Arteriosclerosis. Quitting smoking helps to regulate total blood cholesterol level, and control blood pressure. Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in water soluble B vitamins help keep the cardiovascular system healthy and prevent fat deposition inside arterial walls. Besides, whole grains that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber keeps the arteries healthy. Certain herbs such as hawthorn, olive leaf extract, psyllium, garlic, or guggul helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Side-effects of Atherosclerosis include:
In severe cases, it can progress extremely rapidly and cause death.