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What is atherosclerosis and what causes it?

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Atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-scle-ro-sis) is a condition that occurs when fat and cholesterol build up in the walls of arteries, causing hard structures called plaques to form. When plaques build up over time, they cause narrowing - or even blockage - of the arteries. If a plaque ruptures, the resulting blood clot can cause a stroke or heart attack.

Atherosclerosis is often confused with arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis, commonly called 'hardening of the arteries,' occurs when too much pressure in the arteries causes the artery walls to thicken and get stiff, thus restricting blood flow. Atherosclerosis is a kind of arteriosclerosis, referring specifically to the condition where fat and cholesterol have created plaques that harden the arteries.

What Causes Atherosclerosis?
A progressive disease, atherosclerosis starts early and builds over years. It begins when there is damage to the inner layer of an artery from smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure. Once the artery wall is damaged, plaque - made up of cholesterol and fat - form at the injury site and harden, narrowing the artery. A narrowed artery means less blood flow, which can starve organs and tissue of oxygen. And if plaque breaks off in a clot, that could cause stroke or a heart attack.

What Are The Symptoms Of Atherosclerosis?

Because hardening of the arteries in general, and atherosclerosis in specific, does not often present with symptoms, often the first sign of this condition is a heart attack or stroke. This is why cholesterol testing over time is a vital preventive step.However, symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis can occur, and present differently depending on which arteries have plaque formations. If atherosclerosis is affecting the heart arteries, chest pain or pressure known as angina may result. If atherosclerosis is affecting the arteries leading to the brain, it can cause typical stroke symptoms such as sudden numbness in arms or legs, drooping muscles, or slurred speech. If it develops in the arteries leading to the kidneys, high blood pressure and kidney failure can result. And if atherosclerosis develops in the arteries in the legs, pain while walking can result. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have atherosclerosis.

What Is The Treatment For Atherosclerosis?
Once atherosclerosis develops, it cannot be reversed. However, further buildup of plaque can be prevented with lifestyle and diet changes along with cholesterol-lowering and/or blood pressure medication.

How Can Atherosclerosis Be Prevented?
To prevent atherosclerosis, limit your risk factors. Factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and a family history of early heart disease.

According to the National Institute of Health, the following are the most important things to do to prevent atherosclerosis:
a) quit smoking,
b) avoid fatty foods,
c) limit alcohol to one drink a day for women or 2 for men,
d) exercise for thirty minutes every day (60-90 minutes if you are overweight),

Get your blood pressure checked annually after age 50 - more often if your blood pressure is high. As well, blood pressure and cholesterol medication may be prescribed; it's important to keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check.

If you are worried about atherosclerosis because you have either symptoms or a family history of early heart disease, talk with your doctor to have your cholesterol level and blood pressure checked.

Atherosclerosis is a condition that forms gradually over time, and cannot be reversed. Paying attention now to your cholesterol and blood pressure, and eating sensibly and exercising frequently will help keep atherosclerosis at bay.
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What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which an artery wall thickens as  a result of the buildup of fatty materials. Atherosclerosis results  in a reduced flow of blood in the af

What causes atherosclerosis?

Eating too many fatty foods, not exercising, obesity, not watching your calorie intake; it is a condition in which fatty substances accumulate on the inner linings off the art

What are the cures of atherosclerosis?

There are no cures for atherosclerosis. There are only treatments for it currently and preventative measures you can take to help minimize your risk from the complications tha

Hazards of atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis refers to arteries becoming hard due to a buildup  of plaque. It can lead to a number of diseases, and is what most  often causes heart attacks and strokes.

Is Atherosclerosis genetic?

Atherosclerosis is often found in clusters in families.  Atherosclerosis is a thickening of the artery walls as a result of  an invasion and accumulation of white cells.
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When can atherosclerosis develop?

can begin in the late teens, but it usually takes decades to cause symptoms. Some people experience rapidly progressing atherosclerosis during their thirties, others during th
In Biology

Can vains cause atherosclerosis?

Veins are vessels in the circulatory system that carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart to pick up more oxygen. Atherosclerosis is the "harding" of an artery caused by a b