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Arteriosclerosis is plaque or cholesterol, platelets, fibrin and other substances on the arterial walls (artery walls) that can lead to blockage of circulation. KNOWN CAUSES: Smoking, high cholesterol levels (diet), high blood pressure as well as hereditary factors (if other members of your family has suffered from this.) Diabetes can also create this disease. It may cause Angina (pain in the chest) and even a heart attack. SYMPTOMS: Blockage of arteries can occur anywhere in the body although the most common is the legs, either high up to the pelvis, or further down in the calf. If not looked after it can cause pain in these areas because it is not receiving enough blood supply and will cause aching pain in the muscle which is relieved by rest and worsened by activity. If the disease is at it's worst even resting one can still have pain. DIAGNOSIS: There are other signs to this disease including absent pulses and poor skin filling from capillaries which are compressed. An Ultrasound test may further confirm the diagnosis in which a dye is injected into the larger arteries and traced with x-rays is the most reliable test. CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT: Ranges from light exercise (if no major symptoms are evident) and drug therapy to surgery. Bypass grafts made of synthetic material is inserted in place of the blocked segments. If the blockage is in many smaller vessels surgery is considered inappropriate but a single severe blockage is present, a procedure called "balloon Dilation" is sometimes advised. A tube is inserted into the artery under x-ray guidance, and at the area of obstruction a tiny balloon ins inflated to relieve the obstruction. DRUGS: There are many drugs to help the patient and should be discussed with the specialist. BYPASS SURGERY: Experts reviewed this surgery over a 15 year period concluded that in most cases the operation has not been shown to save lives. It turned out to be 15% or greater with a risk of brain damage following coronary bypass surgery. PROGNOSIS: If this disease is left untreated it can be fatal by leading to a stroke or heart attack. Caution is needed if a patient is also diabetic because the disease can progress very rapidly. A good diet, quitting smoking, no alcohol, exercise (according to the instructions from your specialist) looking after your Diabetes "to the letter with no complaints" and working close with your family doctor can certainly lengthen your life. Also, many of the suggested surgeries are highly successful with the exception of Bypass Surgery.

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โˆ™ 2007-01-12 10:25:44
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Q: What is arteriosclerosis and why is it dangerous?
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