Posted on 26-12-16
Arteries are those blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to various parts of the body. But when fats and cholesterol, collectively called plaque, accumulate on the inner walls of the arteries, proper blood flow is restricted, and sufficient amount of blood does not reach your organs and tissues. Though the arteries are highly flexible and elastic in nature, and such a buildup of plaque does not hinder the flow of blood completely, with the passage of time, this plaque build-up can stiffen the walls of your arteries and result in a serious condition known as arteriosclerosis, which is also called atherosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis comes under the category of cardiovascular diseases, as it affects the heart and the blood vessels. The condition becomes even more worse when the plaques burst and flow into the bloodstream, resulting in a blood clot. This could subsequently result in a heart attack or a stroke.
This disorder is progressive and can develop at any age, and could start during early childhood even. Arteriosclerosis develops due to the damages caused to the inner linings of an artery. This may be caused due to hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, substance abuse, obesity or inflammations.
The symptoms of this disorder depend on the region where the affected artery is situated. If the arteries of the chest region are affected, recurrent chest pain or angina is the most common symptom. If left untreated, this may lead to a heart attack. If the arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the brain get clogged, you may experience numbness or weakness in your limbs, speech problems, loss of vision, drooping of facial muscles etc. These symptoms often indicate the signs of a stroke. You may experience severe pain in the calf muscles while walking, which is also known as claudication, if the arteries of your lower limbs are clogged. Chances are high that you could suffer from high blood pressure, that ultimately leads to complete renal failure, if the arteries that supply blood to your kidneys are blocked due to the formation of plaque.
Consult your cardiologist if you experience the above symptoms. The doctor may ask you to go through a few tests such as ECG, Doppler Ultrasound, Ankle-Brachial Index test etc., to determine the location and the severity of blockage in your arteries.
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