Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries
. It’s a gradual process
that will restrict blood flow to one’s organs and tissues
. Arteriosclerosis may develop into atherosclerosis
which can cause the following health problems:
There usually are no arteriosclerosis symptoms. Even mild atherosclerosis doesn’t have any symptoms.
- heart disease
- circulation problems in the arms and legs
- chronic kidney disease
As arteriosclerosis progresses, the following symptoms may show up:
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Chest pain or pressure
- Sudden arm or leg weakness numbness
- Difficulty speaking
- Brief loss of vision in one eye
- Drooping facial muscles
- Pain when walking
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure
Several factors can contribute to arteriosclerosis:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance or diabetes
- Smoking or use of other tobacco products
- Bad diet
Except for these factors, family history is a risk factor
. People with a family history of heart disease or arteriosclerosis are at higher risk for the condition.
To diagnose the condition, physician will ask questions about your medical history and do a physical exam
. After that, advanced diagnostic procedures and technology will be used. It may conclude:
Early diagnosis is of vital importance for managing arteriosclerosis, so it must be emphasized.
- Ankle brachial index test: helps doctors understand if there is decreased blood flow to the lower legs and feet.
- Blood test: check the levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar and protein in the blood that could indicate heart conditions.
- CT scan: provides a more detailed picture than an ultrasound.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG): helps determine if parts of the heart are enlarged, overworked or damaged.
- Stress testing: shows changes to the heart’s rate, rhythm or electrical activity as well as blood pressure.
- Ultrasound: help the physician determine if you have any blockages and how quickly blood flows through your arteries.
Your physician may also prescribe other medications, based on your needs.
- Cholesterol medications: protect heart arteries.
- Aspirin: prevent platelets from forming blood clots.
- Beta blocker medications: reduce blood pressure and heart rate; diminish chest pains, the risk of heart attack and irregular heart rhythm.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE): lower blood pressure and the possibility of heart attack.
- Calcium channel blockers and diuretics (water pills): reduce blood pressure.
- A clot-busting drug: dissolve blood clots.
- Quit smoking
- Eat healthy food
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
As mentioned before, early diagnosis is critical
. If you think you have arteriosclerosis, contact your doctor as soon as you can.
Keywords: arteriosclerosis; symptoms; causes; diagnosis; medication; prevention.