Arteriosclerosis is characterized by the thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity of the artery wall. Cardiovascular risk factor, atherosclerosis is a form of arteriosclerosis.
What is arteriosclerosis?
Arteriosclerosis is a form of sclerosis that occurs at the level of the arteries. In other words, this means that it is characterized by hardening, thickening and loss of elasticity of the artery wall.
Arteriosclerosis is often defined as a natural phenomenon related to age with a normal thickening of the artery wall.
Nevertheless, numerous studies have also shown that this hardening of the wall could be accelerated by certain cardiovascular disorders. The progressive deposition of lipids at the level of the wall of the arteries can in particular cause this thickening and this hardening. In this case, we speak more often of atherosclerosis with reference to the atheroma, which designates the plate of greases formed.
What Causes Arteriosclerosis?
Although arteriosclerosis is defined by some researchers as a normal phenomenon related to aging, this multiple sclerosis in the arteries may be favored by many factors including:
- Genetic factors;
- Metabolic disorders;
- Poor eating habits;
- Lack of physical activity;
- Some stressors.
Who is concerned?
Because of its many causes, arteriosclerosis can affect many people. Among the populations most at risk are:
- The elderly;
- People with little or no physical activity;
- Overweight people;
- Persons with dyslipidemia such as hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia;
- People with diabetes;
- Hypertensive individuals, that is, with high blood pressure;
What is the risk of complication?
Arteriosclerosis may remain asymptomatic for several years. Nevertheless, in the most severe cases, it can block the arteries essential for the proper functioning of the body such as the coronary arteries and the carotid arteries. Causing poor oxygenation, obstruction of these arteries can lead to:
- A myocardial infarction;
- A cerebral vascular accident (CVA);
- An obliterative arteritis of the lower limbs (AOMI).
What are the symptoms of arteriosclerosis?
Arteriosclerosis may remain invisible or manifest by different symptoms. The latter depend on the arteries affected by the sclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis can include:
Localized pain, especially during movements or in the chest with the occurrence of angina, or angina pectoris;
Cardiac arrhythmia, which may be associated with arterial hypertension;
Motor and / or sensory deficit in the upper and lower limbs;
- Intermittent claudication;
- Vision disorders;
- Shortness of breath;
- Of vertigo.
How to prevent arteriosclerosis?
The prevention of arteriosclerosis consists of limiting risk factors such as poor eating habits and physical inactivity. For this, it is recommended to:
To adopt a healthy and balanced diet by limiting the consumption of processed products and the excess of fats, sugars and alcohol;
Regular physical activity.
To prevent the occurrence of arteriosclerosis, it is also advisable to maintain regular medical follow-up. This must include a lipid balance to analyze blood levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Weight and blood pressure monitoring is also recommended to limit the risk of complications.
How to treat arteriosclerosis?
The treatment of arteriosclerosis depends on its origin, its evolution and its severity.
Drug treatment may be considered in cases of arteriosclerosis. In particular, doctors may prescribe:
- Antihypertensive agents;
- antiplatelet agents.
Surgical treatment can be performed if arteriosclerosis presents a life-threatening risk. The aim of surgery is to restore blood circulation when the coronary or carotid arteries are blocked. Depending on the case, the operation may for example be:
- an angioplasty to widen the diameter of the coronary arteries;
- an endarterectomy for removing an atheroma plaque formed at the carotid arteries;
- a coronary artery bypasses graft to bypass blocked arteries