Atherosclerosis

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the large and medium-sized arteries accompanied by inflammation of the blood vessels, also known as “fibro-proliferative”, and inflammation of the body’s immune system, also known as “immuno-inflammatory”.

What are the risk factors?

Important risk factors are hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, hypertension, smoking and being male. Additionally, elevated levels of some blood chemistry markers increase the risk. According to some arguments, “if all adults had plasma cholesterol level less than 150 mg / dL, symptomatic disease would be rare". 

What is the risk of Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is rarely lethal on its own. Blood clots formed on a torn or abraded plaque can create clinical pictures such as heart attack and stroke.

How is it diagnosed?

It might not be diagnosed until the symptoms of atherosclerosis are present. Diagnostic tests are to determine the organ involvement of atherosclerosis. These tests include Doppler-assisted ankle brachial pressure index, Doppler ultrasonographic examination of vessels, computed tomographic angiography, magnetic resonance angiography, angiography and cardiac stress tests.

How is it treated?

The treatment of atherosclerosis aims at regression of the disease and preventing its progression. For the treatment of atherosclerosis risk factors of the disease should be eliminated. Blood pressure should be lowered, dietary fat and cholesterol should be restricted, body weight should be managed, smoking should be ceased, blood sugar should be controlled if patient has diabetes and a more active life must be pursued. Medical therapy mainly consists of blood thinners and medications lowering cholesterol and fat. These medications must be administered under a physician’s supervision. Under particular circumstances, treatments to reopen narrowed arteries such as angioplasty, stenting, endarteriectomy or bypass might be necessary.
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