Arteriosclerosis, a degenerative arterial disease

Arteriosclerosis is a degenerative disease of the arteries. The exact cause is not known, but there is speculation that it is related to an inflammatory process in the arteries.

At present, there is no cure for this pathology, but it can be prevented by controlling the so-called cardiovascular risk factors. Thus, it is important to control high cholesterol and triglycerides, hypertension, smoking, diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

In this sense, it is essential to follow healthy lifestyle habits, through moderate exercise and diet control to maintain the ideal weight.

How is arteriosclerosis diagnosed?

When a patient with arteriosclerosis comes to the doctor’s office, the initial test to be performed is the physical examination, which can lead to a quick and correct diagnosis.

Once the disease has been diagnosed and depending on the severity of the patient, a series of complementary tests can be performed that can be very useful to complete the diagnosis, such as Doppler, ultrasound, CT, MRI or arteriography.

Treatment of arteriosclerosis

In any case, the treatment of arteriosclerosis will depend on the part of the body affected by the disease.

However, in most cases, treatment usually consists of controlling risk factors and taking medication to prevent arterial thrombosis.

On the other hand, it is essential to adequately treat diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and triglycerides.

On many occasions, once the symptoms appear, it is necessary to resort to direct surgery on the arteries or endovascular treatment to improve the blood supply to the affected area.

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What is the risk of not treating the disease?

If atherosclerosis is not treated, there is a risk that the disease will progress, leading to symptoms of lack of blood supply due to arterial obstruction.

Depending on where in the body this occurs, the most frequent consequences that can be triggered are:

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Appearance of aneurysms
  • Intermittent claudication (pain in the legs when walking).

On many occasions, several of these diseases appear at the same time and can have fatal consequences, such as the amputation of a limb or death. In fact, arteriosclerosis in its various forms is the leading cause of death in the world, even above cancer.

Is it a hereditary disease?

There are no studies that prove that arteriosclerosis is hereditary. It is true that there are family groups that seem to have a special predisposition to suffer from it. However, most of the patients affected do not have a family history, although they do have predisposing risk factors, the most important of which, we must insist, is smoking.

Growing old with arteriosclerosis

In order to age properly with arteriosclerosis it is essential to completely eliminate smoking, control the level of fats in the blood, as well as diabetes and hypertension.

On the other hand, it is necessary to perform moderate exercise and follow a diet based on the reduction of salt, alcohol, red meat and precooked or processed products. In this way, it is necessary to increase the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish and fruit, as well as to ensure proper hydration.