CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About Atherosclerosis

What Is Atherosclerosis ?

Atherosclerosis is a thickening and hardening of the arteries. This happens when excess fat in the blood, in the form of cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the arteries at the site of an injury to the blood vessel. Over time, this build up can narrow the diameter of the blood vessels, lessening the amount of blood that can flow through them. Some of the plaque could also break off of the deposit and cause a blood blot in the artery. This can stop the blood flow and prevent some of the organs of the body from getting the oxygen they need.

What Causes Atherosclerosis?

There are several risk factors for atherosclerosis. You might be at risk if you are overweight, a smoker, having a family history of atherosclerosis or high cholesterol, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol yourself, or if you are diabetic.

What Are the Symptoms?

Blockages can be problematic anywhere. A blocked artery to the brain (cerebral artery) causes a stroke. When one or more of the arteries to the heart is blocked, it causes a heart attack, and a stoppage of blood flow in a peripheral artery can lead to muscle pain and weakness. Your doctor will examine your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. He might use other testing methods if he suspects that your blood   vessels might be narrowed.

What Is the Treatment?

Lifestyle changes are encouraged for those at risk or with atherosclerosis. These include exercise, dietary changes, losing weight if needed, and quitting smoking. Medications might be given if changes in your daily habits do not help. If your arteries seem to be too far narrowed for medications to help, you might undergo surgery such as stenting, angioplasty, or atherectomy.

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