Arteriosclerosis

Bio 3360-01:Biogerontology Jennie Young Dr. Lloyd 5/6/2010

quit smoking and getting blood tests to check cholesterol levels every five years. . exercising. Although medications and surgery are two of the many treatment options often used to cure arteriosclerosis.Abstract Arteriosclerosis is a disease that affects millions of people and is a primary cause of coronary artery disease. the most effective treatment is prevention. Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries ("Arterio" meaning artery and "sclerosis" meaning hardening) due to a buildup of ³fatty´ deposits of calcium and cholesterol on the inner walls of the arteries. the leading cause of death of both males and females in the US. Prevent this disease by eating healthy. Symptoms for this disease range vastly but are often unnoticed until the disease has progressed to the late stages in which the arteries are blocked.

the narrowing of the arteries may progress to complete closure of the artery. . symptoms may include difficulty walking or pain when walking and could lead to a condition known as peripheral artery disease. People are at higher risk if they have a personal or family history of coronary artery disease or stroke. high blood pressure. The walls of the arteries begin to lose their elasticity are unable to let through the amount of blood . if the arteries of the heart are blocked. symptoms may be similar to that of a heart attack such as angina (chest pain). although atherosclerosis is actually a specific kind of arteriosclerosis. These symptoms correlate strongly to the complications that arise from arteriosclerosis. smoking. and dizziness. This is a common disorder. Calcium deposits in the walls of the arteries contribute to the narrowing and stiffness and the effects of these deposits may be seen on X-rays.Atherosclerosis is defined as "hardening of the arteries". In arteriosclerosis. carotid artery disease (CAD). Many of the symptoms of the disease largely depend on where the hardened or blocked arteries are located. along with difficulty speaking. When arteries of the legs and arms are blocked. or kidney disease. and peripheral artery disease (PAD) which was mentioned previously. a disease that affects more than 8 million Americans. typically affecting men over age 50. slurred speech may be a symptom. The term is often used interchangeably with atherosclerosis. Symptoms Arteriosclerosis is a concealed disease in that many people do not even feel the symptoms until the arteries have been blocked. Three common diseases that are caused by hardening of the arteries include but are not limited to: coronary artery disease (CAD). For example. numbness in arms and legs. diabetes. If the carotid arteries leading to the brain are blocked. Blockage of the carotid arteries may lead to a stroke.

leading to inflammation. there are many others including (but not limited to): y y y y y y High blood pressure High cholesterol Diabetes Obesity Smoking A family history of aneurysm or early heart disease . Over time. The organs and tissues connected to the blocked arteries then don't receive enough blood to function properly. Eventually pieces of the fatty deposits may rupture and enter your bloodstream. narrowing your arteries. nicotine. This can cause a blood clot to form and damage your organs. Obesity and emotional stress also may cause arteriosclerosis. A blood clot can also travel to other parts of your body and partially or totally block blood flow to another organ. high blood pressure or abnormal sugar content in the blood. Risk Factors Although the biggest risk factor is simply aging. fatty deposits (plaques) made of cholesterol and other cellular waste products also accumulate at the injury and harden. Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged.Causes The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is unknown although researchers believe that it may be caused by cholesterol fats. such as in a heart attack. blood cells called platelets often clump at the injury site to try to repair the artery.

An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of your artery. This causes blood to back up in the veins leading to the heart. they can form a blood-clot that completely blocks the arteries blood flow. When platelets gather at the narrowing. a serious complication that can occur anywhere in your body. The heart keeps working. Peripheral artery disease is often an early indicator of congestive heart failure and arteriosclerotic heart disease. This blockage often leads to a heart attack. Sometimes platelets gather at the narrowing. If an aneurysm bursts.y y High-fat diet Heavy alcohol use Complications Coronary Artery Disease is a type of atherosclerosis in which plaque builds up inside the arteries that carry blood to the heart. injured. This usually occurs as a result of arteriosclerosis. If the blood supply is cut-off for more than a few minutes. forming a clot that decreases or prevents blood flow to the region of the heart supplied by the artery. or simply over-worked. Arteriosclerosis can also cause aneurysms. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or blocked due to a narrowing in one of the coronary arteries. the muscle cells of the heart may be permanently injured or die from lack of oxygen. Pain and throbbing in the area of an aneurysm is a common symptom. you may face life- . the heart cannot pump enough blood. Congestive heart failure happens when the heart is diseased. In congestive heart failure. and sometimes causes fluid to build up in the legs or other parts of the body. but not as well as it should. the passageway for blood narrows. As the artery walls thicken.

including: y Blood tests. your doctor may suggest one or more diagnostic tests. These measurements can help your doctor gauge the degree of any blockages. An abnormal difference may indicate peripheral vascular disease. . heard with a stethoscope Signs of a pulsating bulge (aneurysm) in your abdomen or behind your knee Evidence of poor wound healing in the area where your blood flow is restricted Depending on the results of the physical exam. This is known as the ankle-brachial index. If a blood clot within an aneurysm dislodges.threatening internal bleeding. a slow leak is possible. as well as the speed of blood flow in your arteries. y Ankle-brachial index. catastrophic event. it may obstruct an artery at some distant point. Although this is usually a sudden. Your doctor may compare the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm. These include: y y y y y A weak or absent pulse below the narrowed area of your artery Decreased blood pressure in an affected limb Whooshing sounds (bruits) over your arteries. enlarged or hardened arteries during a physical exam. Your doctor may use a special ultrasound device (Doppler ultrasound) to measure your blood pressure at various points along your arm or leg. which is usually caused by atherosclerosis. y Doppler ultrasound. This test can tell if you have atherosclerosis in the arteries in your legs and feet. Tests and Dx Your doctor may find signs of narrowed. Lab tests can detect increased levels of cholesterol and blood sugar that may increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

y Electrocardiogram (ECG). medication or surgical procedures may be recommended as well. Treatments Lifestyle changes. The dye outlines narrow spots and blockages on the X-ray images. An ECG can often reveal evidence of a previous heart attack or one that's in progress. arms or legs. Aggressively lowering your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. . Various drugs can slow ² or sometimes even reverse ² the effects of atherosclerosis. An electrocardiogram records electrical signals as they travel through your heart. may help. Your doctor can choose from a range of cholesterol medications. Your doctor may use ultrasound. too. your doctor may ask you to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike during an ECG. such as eating a healthy diet and exercising. To better view blood flow through your heart. y Other imaging tests. But sometimes. including drugs known as statins and fibrates. can slow. Here are some common choices: y Cholesterol medications. stop or even reverse the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries. Boosting your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. y Angiogram. the "bad" cholesterol. This is known as an angiogram. the "good" cholesterol. as well as aneurysms and calcium deposits in the artery walls. These tests can often show hardening and narrowing of large arteries. a computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) to study your arteries. brain. If your signs and symptoms occur most often during exercise. are often the first line of defense in treating atherosclerosis. your doctor may inject a special dye into your arteries before an X-ray.

fatty deposits must be surgically removed from the walls of a narrowed artery.y Anti-platelet medications. it's known as carotid endarterectomy. . Sometimes medications to treat symptoms of atherosclerosis. In some cases. y Endarterectomy. such as aspirin. are prescribed. y Anticoagulants. y Other medications. An anticoagulant. compressing the deposits against your artery walls. you may be a candidate for one of the following surgical procedures: y Angioplasty. Your doctor may suggest certain medications to control specific risk factors for atherosclerosis. A mesh tube (stent) is usually left in the artery to help keep the artery open. y Blood pressure medications. angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and calcium channel blockers ² can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis. your doctor inserts a long. A wire with a deflated balloon is passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. can help thin your blood to prevent clots from forming. Your doctor may prescribe anti-platelet medications. such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin). Sometimes more aggressive treatment is needed. In this procedure. When the procedure is done on arteries in the neck (the carotid arteries). form a blood clot and cause further blockage. Medications to control blood pressure ² such as beta blockers. such as diabetes. such as leg pain during exercise. The balloon is then inflated. thin tube (catheter) into the blocked or narrowed part of your artery. Angioplasty may also be done with laser technology. If you have severe symptoms or a blockage that threatens muscle or skin tissue survival. to reduce the likelihood that platelets will clump in narrowed arteries.

Smoking damages your arteries. alternative medicine. Physical activity can also improve circulation and promote development of new blood vessels that form a natural bypass around obstructions (collateral vessels). Your doctor may create a graft bypass using a vessel from another part of your body or a tube made of synthetic fabric. though the jury is out on that issue. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. quitting is the best way to halt the progression of atherosclerosis and reduce your risk of complications. you should exercise 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. . y Bypass surgery. health foods and even drinks like Green Tea can possibly help your general health and blood circulation. Regular exercise can condition your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. stress reduction relaxation techniques. y Exercise most days of the week. y Stop smoking. walk around the block during your lunch hour. There are indications long-time healthy eating. try breaking it up into 10-minute intervals. or do some sit-ups or push-ups while watching television. Prevention A sedentary lifestyle and lifetime lack of exercise seems to be major contributing factors for getting arteriosclerosis and heart-disease onset. If you can't fit it all in one session. This allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed artery. your doctor may insert a clot-dissolving drug into your artery at the point of the clot to break it up. If you have an artery that's blocked by a blood clot.y Thrombolytic therapy. It's believed by Medical Doctors a proper eating and exercise program can also slow down the disease and possibly (in some cases) even reverse arteriosclerosis. Ideally. If you smoke.

and low in saturated fat. y Manage stress. Adding fish to your diet at least twice a week may be helpful. diabetes or another chronic disease. vegetables and whole grains . blood pressure and cholesterol. Eat well-balanced meals that are low in fat and cholesterol. such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. y y Do not drink more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day. and for 60 .2 years. cholesterol and sodium ² can help you control your weight. Try substituting whole-grain bread in place of white bread. especially if high blood pressure runs in your family. and reading nutrition labels to control the amount of salt and fat you eat. high blood pressure.y Eat healthy foods. banana or carrot sticks as a snack. If you have high cholesterol. Include several daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Talk to your doctor. Reduce stress as much as possible. do not eat fried fish. make the following lifestyle changes: y Avoid fatty foods. However. y Everyone should keep their blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg . Have your blood pressure checked more often if you have high blood pressure.90 minutes a day if you are overweight. Practice healthy techniques for managing stress. Get your blood presure checked every 1 . grabbing an apple. A heart-healthy diet based on fruits. To help prevent atherosclerosis or its complications (such as heart disease and stroke). or you have had a stroke. heart disease. work with your doctor to manage the condition and promote overall health. Exercise regularly for 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight.

or hardening of the arteries somewhere else in your body. Statins and other cholesterollowering drugs can help prevent more plaque from forming. y y All adults should keep their LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels below 130-160 mg/dL. or folic acid to prevent heart disease. antioxidants. If you have diabetes. you will need to have it checked more often. your blood pressure should probably be less than 130/80 mm/Hg. your LDL cholesterol should be lower than 100 mg/dL. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another drug called clopidogrel (Plavix) to help prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. These medicines are called antiplatelet drugs. y Few medications have been found to clear up plaque. Guidelines no longer recommend vitamins E or C. If you are being treated for high cholesterol. y Adults should have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. Talk to your doctor about the safety of hormone replacement therapy for menopause. Conclusion . DO NOT take aspirin without first talking to your doctor. heart disease. Have your cholesterol checked and treated if it is high.y If you have diabetes or have had a stroke or heart attack.

Medline Plus: Atherosclerosis. . Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis.org/ (accessed Apr 11.org/ (accessed Apr 11. http://www.National Library of Medicine.nhlbi.com/health/ (accessed Apr 11. http://www. 2. 2010).arteriosclerosis.gov/ (accessed Apr 11. 3. Quick Facts about Arteriosclerosis. 2010).mayoclinic. http://www.nih. American Heart Association. 4. 2010). http://www.References 1.Arteriosclerosis.americanheart.Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Atherosclerosis. 2010).

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