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Atherosclerosis refers to the build up of plaque in the walls of the arteries leading to a reduction in the calibre of the vessel. The concept of a "passive" buildup of material on artery walls is illogical. It is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Arteriosclerosis is a generic term for a number of diseases in which the arterial wall becomes thickened and loses elasticity.

The result is that the arteries become constricted, their elasticity disappears and the volume of blood able to travel through them at any given time is reduced. Arteriosclerosis is constriction to smooth blood-flow ultimately deprives vital organs of their blood supply. Clots may lodge in arteries supplying the heart, causing myocardial infarction (heart attack), or the brain, causing stroke. The major form of arteriosclerosis is atherosclerosis , in which plaques of fatty deposits, or atheromas, form on the inner walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is just one of several types of "arterio"-sclerosis, which is characterized by thickening and hardening of artery walls, but the two terms are often used to mean the same thing.

Causes of Arteriosclerosis

Some causes are as follows :

  • Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, researchers suspect that atherosclerosis starts with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery.
  • The plaque deposits can make the artery less flexible.
  • This is a common cause of heart attack and stroke. Blood clots can also form around the plaque deposits.

Symptoms of Arteriosclerosis

Most commonly Symptoms of Arteriosclerosis

  • In the kidneys, atherosclerosis can lead to high blood pressure and renal failure .
  • Leg pains can also be experienced due to atherosclerosis in the main and smaller arteries to the lower limbs. In extreme cases, this might mean amputation of the leg due to an insufficient blood supply.
  • The presence of vulnerable plaque in arteries can lead to a blood clot (thrombus), thus cutting off the supply of oxygen to an area of brain.
  • Heart arteries. Obstruction of the arteries to your heart (coronary arteries) may cause symptoms of heart attack, such as chest pain.
  • Arteries supplying the brain. Obstruction of the carotid arteries in your neck may cause symptoms of stroke, such as sudden numbness, weakness or dizziness.
  • Arteries in the arms and legs. Obstruction of the arteries supplying blood to your arms and legs may cause symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, such as leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).

Treatment of Arteriosclerosis

Some treatment methods of Arteriosclerosis

  • Lifestyle changes can promote healthier arteries. If you smoke, quit. Eat healthy foods, and get regular physical activity.
  • The body will protect itself by forming new blood vessels around the affected area. This is called developing "collaterals."
  • Medications may be recommended to reduce fats and cholesterol in your blood; a low-fat diet, weight loss, and exercise are also usually suggested. Control of high blood pressure is also important.


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