Atherosclerosis is a medical condition in which blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body become thick and rigid, limiting blood flow to organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, as a result of atherosclerosis, the walls of the arteries become stiff.

Atherosclerosis of the brain

Brain atherosclerosis is generally the most common circulatory disorder in the elderly. The consequence is a sudden disruption of blood flow or complete interruption of circulation.
This condition is most often accompanied by ischemia, that is, oxygen deficiency in the supply area of the artery.
Another thing that can happen as a result of neglected atherosclerosis and damage to the blood vessel is a rupture of the blood vessel due to a weakness of the wall causing internal bleeding.
If you are over 35, it would be a good idea to pay attention to the early prevention of atherosclerosis and perform tests that can negate or confirm:
• clogging of the neck veins,
• obstruction of blood vessels in the legs,
• occlusion of blood vessels around the heart.


Causes of atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that can begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, atherosclerosis can begin with damage or injury to the inner layer of the artery.
Atherosclerosis is one of the most important and common diseases of humanity, especially in developed countries. There are many cases without symptoms and it is therefore very difficult to handle the correct figures.
Autopsy of the victims of the car accident showed that they had advanced atherosclerosis - especially men.
Women are quite protected when it comes to atherosclerosis - until menopause, due to the action of the hormone estrogen. However, after the age of 50, the risk for women equals the risk for men. Unless a woman is vigilant about what she consumes in her diet, she exercises regularly and has no genetic predisposition to develop the disease.
Most people in the West eat a lot of fatty foods or foods rich in cholesterol, such as meat, butter and eggs - which is very likely one of the major causes of atherosclerosis in otherwise "completely healthy" people.
It is important to note that atherosclerosis worsens significantly with age.

Damage can be caused by:

• high blood pressure,
• high cholesterol - consuming too much-saturated fat
• high triglycerides,
• smoking (1 or more packs of cigarettes per day for several years increases mortality due to ischemic heart disease 200%),
• diabetes,
• inflammation such as arthritis, lupus, and other infections or unknown cause,
family predisposition.
After the internal wall of the artery is damaged, fat deposits build-up from cholesterol and other cellular products over time, causing it to harden and narrow.
Organs and tissues associated with a blocked artery then do not receive enough oxygen from the transferred blood to function properly.
Eventually, a blood clot may be formed with partial or complete blockage of blood flow to a particular part of the body, such as a heart attack when the pathway to the heart is blocked. A blood clot can travel to other parts of the body and block blood flow to other organs (brain, kidney, intestines).

Symptoms of atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis develops gradually. There are almost no symptoms until major damage occurs. Symptoms usually occur as a result of the bloodlessness of a part of the body. For example, you may only have leg cramps after some more severe physical activity (later and easier as atherosclerosis progresses).
Symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected. For example:
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries of the heart, you may have symptoms such as chest pain or pressure (angina).
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain, you may have signs and symptoms such as numbness or weakness in the extremities, difficult speech, or relaxed facial muscles. This signals a transient ischemic attack, which, if left untreated, can lead to a stroke. Headache and dizziness are also possible.
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries of the hands and feet, you may have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, such as leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries that lead the blood to the kidney, high blood pressure or even kidney failure can occur.
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries that lead the blood to the genitals, you may have difficulty during sexual intercourse. Atherosclerosis can cause erectile dysfunction in men while in women it can reduce blood flow to the vagina, making sex less enjoyable.

Symptoms of atherosclerosis

As we noted earlier - severe atherosclerosis can exist without obvious symptoms. Damage caused by atherosclerosis may be minor for years, but it is very likely that by narrowing the artery, one part of the body or organ will eventually run out of blood. This condition is extremely dangerous as it can lead to other conditions and diseases such as:
• angina pectoris,
• coronary thrombosis,
• stroke,
• renal insufficiency.
Therefore, it is very important to regularly go for tests such as blood sampling to see your lipid and blood sugar levels, as well as blood clotting factors, to determine if you need to keep an eye on your health.

Treatment of atherosclerosis

1) Self-treatment
Because the development of severe atherosclerosis is associated with cholesterol, lipids, and blood sugar, you will need to change your dietary approach:
• Reduce your intake of animal fats and other saturated milk fats.
• Eat poultry and fish instead of pork, beef, and lamb.
• Remove the fat from the meat and grill it rather than fry it.
• Limit your egg count to 3 a week - because your egg fills almost all of your daily cholesterol.
• Avoid highly processed products and sweets.
• Eat more fruits and vegetables.
• Stick to your diet to lower blood pressure
• Exercise at least three times a week, you can try out the 3 day workout split
2) Stop smoking.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Do physical activity - enroll in a gym or choose a dance class where you will have an activity every second or third day, get a pet to walk on a daily basis.
If you think physical activity may harm you, you should consult your doctor.
If you have problems with obesity, consult your doctor about possible weight loss - which is actually an inevitable product if you adhere to all the above rules.
Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercise, are often the best treatment for atherosclerosis. Sometimes medications or surgery are still needed.

3) Expert assistance
Various drugs can slow or even reverse the effects of atherosclerosis:
Cholesterol Remedies - Aggressively lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can slow and stop the buildup of fat in the arteries. However, such drugs increase the risk of gallbladder disease. Your doctor may include medicines such as statins and fibrates in your treatment. In addition to lowering cholesterol, statins have additional effects that help the arteries of the heart and prevent atherosclerosis.
Antiplatelet medications - Your doctor may prescribe platelet medications, such as aspirin, to reduce the likelihood that platelets will stick to the narrowed arteries, create a blood clot (thrombus), and cause further blockage.
Beta-Blockers - These drugs are often used for coronary artery disease. They reduce heart rate and blood pressure and often relieve symptoms of chest pain. Beta-blockers reduce the risk of heart attack and some heart rhythm problems.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors) - These drugs can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis by lowering blood pressure and other beneficial effects on the arteries of the heart. They can also reduce the risk of a recurrent heart attack.
Diuretics - High blood pressure is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis. Diuretics lower blood pressure.
Other medicines - Your doctor may suggest certain medicines to control specific risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as diabetes.
Sometimes more aggressive treatment is needed. If you have severe symptoms or blockages that threaten the survival of your muscles or tissues, surgical treatment will be required:

Angioplasty and stent - In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long, thin mesh into the blocked or narrowed part of your artery to keep the arteries open.
Endarterectomy - in some cases, the fatty deposits must be surgically removed from the walls of the narrowed arteries.
Bypass - Your doctor may install a bypass in some cases to allow blood to flow around blocked or narrowed arteries.

Author's Bio: 

I am a professional blogger and I love to write technology articles for my own blogs. I also write the latest news in different magazines and newspapers