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Arteriosclerosis & Risk factors

A number of factors can contribute to arteriosclerosis:

      • • High cholesterol
      • • High blood pressure
      • • Insulin resistance or diabetes
      • • Obesity
      • • Smoking or use of other tobacco products

Risk factors that contribute to arteriosclerosis include:

Family history: People with a family history of heart disease or arteriosclerosis are at higher risk for the condition.

Symptoms Of Arteriosclerosis

      • • Chest pain or angina.
      • • Pain in leg, arm, and anywhere else that has a blocked artery.
      • • Shortness of breath.
      • • Fatigue.
      • • Confusion, which occurs if the blockage affects circulation to brain.
      • • Muscle weakness in legs from lack of circulation.

 

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Diagnosis For Arteriosclerosis

      • Blood test: Blood tests check the levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar and protein in the blood that could indicate heart conditions.
      • CT scan: X-rays and computers are used to create images of the aorta, heart and blood vessels. This provides a more detailed picture than an ultrasound.
      • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test measures the electrical activity of the heart and can help to determine if parts of the heart are enlarged, overworked or damaged.
      • Stress testing: Used along with an EKG, the test can show changes to the heart’s rate, rhythm or electrical activity as well as blood pressure.
      • Ultrasound: An ultrasound device can measure blood pressure on various points of arm or leg, which will help to determine any blockages and how quickly blood flows through arteries.

Treatment For Arteriosclerosis

Treatment for arteriosclerosis includes a healthy diet, exercise and medication to control or possibly reverse condition. Medications to treatment are based on the location of enlarged blood vessels and other underlying conditions may include.

      • • Cholesterol medications can protect heart arteries
      • • Aspirin can prevent platelets from forming blood clots.
      • • β-blocker medications can reduce blood pressure and heart rate and diminish chest pains, the risk of heart attack and irregular heart rhythm.
      • • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can lower blood pressure and lower the possibility of heart attack.
      • • Calcium channel blockers and diuretics (water pills) can reduce blood pressure.
      • • A clot-busting drug may dissolve blood clots.

Complications Of Arteriosclerosis

If arteriosclerosis is not diagnosed and treated, it could develop into atherosclerosis
and cause serious health problems, including:

      • • Coronary artery disease: Narrowed arteries near the heart may lead to chest pain, heart attack or heart failure.
      • • Peripheral artery disease: Narrowed arties in the arms or legs may cause circulation problems that make it difficult to feel heat and cold, and cause gangrene that can lead to limb amputation.
      • • Carotid artery disease: Narrowed arteries near the brain may cause transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
      • • Aneurysms: A bulge in the wall of an artery, if it bursts, can cause a slow leak or life-threatening internal bleeding.
      • • Chronic renal failure: Narrow arteries near the kidneys can prevent effective kidney function.