How atherosclerosis can affect your health?
What do you know about atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances in and on the arterial wall. This accumulation is called plaque. The plaque can narrow the arteries and block the blood flow. The plaque can also rupture and cause blood clots.
Atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, but it can affect arteries anywhere in the body. Atherosclerosis can be treated. A healthy lifestyle helps prevent atherosclerosis.
Symptoms of Atherosclerosis
Symptoms may not occur until the arteries are nearly closed or a heart attack or stroke occurs. Symptoms also depend on which artery is narrowed or occluded. Symptoms associated with the coronary arteries are:
- Arrhythmia, abnormal heartbeat
- Pain or pressure on the upper body such as chest, arms, neck and chin. This is known as angina.
The symptoms associated with the arteries that supply blood to the brain are:
- Numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- Difficult to talk or understand who is speaking
- Omission of facial muscles
- Severe headache
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
Symptoms related to the arteries in the arms, legs, and pelvis are:
- Pain in the legs when walking
The symptoms associated with the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys are:
- High blood pressure
- kidney failure
Treatment of Atherosclerosis
Depending on the results of the physical examination, your doctor may offer one or more tests, including:
- Blood test. Your doctor will order a blood test to check your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Hyperglycemia and cholesterol increase the risk of atherosclerosis. You can also test C-reactive protein (CRP) to check for proteins associated with arterial inflammation.
- ECG (ECG or ECG). This simple, painless test records the electrical signals of the heart.
- Run a stress test. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have the most frequent signs and symptoms during exercise. While connected to the ECG, walk on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike. Exercise makes your heart heavier and faster than most daily activities, so stress tests can detect problems in your heart that might otherwise be missed.
- This test uses sound waves to show how well blood moves as the heart beats and passes through arteries. Sometimes it is combined with stress testing.
- Doppler ultrasound. Doctors may use a special ultrasound device (Doppler ultrasound) to measure blood pressure at various points along the arms and legs. These measurements help doctors determine the degree of arterial occlusion and the rate of blood flow.
Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) can help identify atherosclerosis among middle-aged patients with no known heart disease, according to a new analysis published in Circulation. You can read more about it on cardiovascularbusiness.com
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