DEFINITION<br />Atherosclerosis (also known as Arteriosclerosis) or hardening of the arteries, is an inflammatory disease that results in scarring of the artery walls, primarily from long term buildup of fatty deposits and calcifications.<br />
RISK FACTORS<br />AGE – Atherosclerosis tends to affect people over 35, although it can begin much earlier<br />GENDER – premenopausal women are less likely than men of the same age to have atherosclerosis, but after menoause the risk is about equal<br />HEREDITY – a family history of atherosclerosis increases the risk of developing the disease<br />
OBESITY – Obese people are more likely to have atherosclerosis, probably because as a group they tend to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure<br />LIFESTYLE – lack of exercise is associated with atherosclerosis and the eventual onset of coronary heart disease<br />
DIAGNOSTIC and TEST PROCEDURES<br />Doctors usually look for characteristic symptoms of arterial blockage in various parts of the body as indications of atherosclerosis. To determine the precise location and extent of blockage, your doctor may order an angiogram, which highlights arterial plaque on an x-ray<br />
TREATMENT<br />CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE<br />No drug treats atherosclerosis directly, although various medications may be prescribed to treat contributing conditions such as high blood pressure, blood clots or cholesterol problems.<br />
SURGERY<br />Preferable surgical operation for atherosclerosis is the Balloon angioplasty is a nonsurgical technique that opens arteries by splitting and flattening plaques against vessel walls. Other common procedure is Bypass surgery, in which blood is rerouted aroud a blockage using either grafted or synthetic blood vessels.<br />
PREVENTION<br />Atherosclerosis develops when genetic predisposition meet known risk factors head-on. If you have a family history of atherosclerosis, the prudent course of action is to accept what you cannot change and change what you can<br />
Adopt a low-fat, low salt, high fibre diet. Take extra pains to avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.<br />If you Smoke, QUIT!<br />Know your blood pressure. If it’s high, get it down.<br />Get moderate exercise – a 30 minute walk, swim, or bicycle ride – daily if possible.<br />Find a relaxation program that you enjoy.<br />Get checked by a cardiologist if a family history is existing.<br />
REFFERENCE:<br />TIME LIFE: THE MEDICAL ADVISOR; page 152 to 155<br />
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