Arteries are the vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. They are not only important for life but also protect vital organs from damage. At any given time, a minimum of 365 blood capillaries supply oxygen-rich blood to the entire body. The largest artery is the coronary artery, which supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain and spinal cord. The second largest artery is the pulmonary artery, which supplies oxygen-rich blood to the lungs and spleen. The smallest is the venous artery, which supplies blood to the arm or leg.
As mentioned, arterial walls are surrounded by fissures. These fissures widen as a result of age, an increase in cholesterol levels or other causes and increase the risk of blockage. As a result of these plaques, blood cannot flow freely through them and the pressure on the walls rises. This can cause the walls to break and become atherosclerosis or carotid artery aneurysm.
When plaques reduce the blood supply to the area, the body dies as a result. If they become too big, the plaques restrict the oxygen and nutrient flow to the area. This can cause a stroke. Even if they are only small, the lack of oxygen and nutrients can result in cell death leading to heart failure.
There are many reasons for the formation of plaques in arteries. These include age, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes. The arteries get clogged when plaque forms on the walls because of the accumulation of fat deposits. Fatty deposits in the body are the result of accumulation of toxins as a result of consumption of unhealthy foods, such as junk food, deep fried items, dairy products, red meat, processed food, alcohol and tobacco.
In addition, plaques often form in arteries as a result of hardening and narrowing of the walls. These plaques increase the resistance to blood flow. In the past, it was thought that hardening and narrowing of the walls resulted in a hardening of the artery walls, increased internal pressure and aortic stenosis. Today, it is believed that the plaques actually contributed to the narrowing of the arteries. In the past, coronary artery disease was thought to be the primary cause of atherosclerotic plaques, but this is not true anymore.
The primary symptom of atherosclerosis is hardening and narrowing of the arterial walls. Hardening and narrowing of the arteries leads to decreased blood supply to the heart. The decreased blood supply can cause swelling in the heart. This swelling can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, the swollen heart may exert abnormal pressures on the walls of the arteries. These abnormal pressures can break down the plaques.
Atherosclerosis is considered to be a silent disease. Often, the symptoms of this disease are not recognized until the patient experiences a heart attack or a stroke. At that point, the damage to the arteries has already been done. Since the plaques have already been hardened and narrowed by the increased internal pressure, the increased blood flow is not going to help the heart to repair the arteries.
It is important to know that atherosclerosis is not contagious. If someone in your family has had atherosclerosis, you are also at risk. However, there is a hereditary predisposition to the disease, so if there are signs of atherosclerosis in a loved one, it is important to see a doctor to determine what the next steps are.
Even if the plaques are small, they can become difficult to treat if they are left untreated. There are two types of treatments available for this condition. They include medications and surgical procedures. Many people choose to wait out the symptoms and hope that they will go away on their own.
Surgery is often an option for those who have narrowed or clogged arteries. When a surgeon performs a bypass or balloon angioplasty, the opening of the artery is partially or completely sealed off. This helps to prevent blood from being pulled back into the heart and therefore does not contribute to a heart attack or stroke.
Preventative measures are important to prevent this disease. Smoking and diabetes can both increase the risk of narrowing or blocking of the arteries. A sedentary lifestyle is also a contributing factor. If you want to know more about heart health, and prevent disease from occurring, see your doctor regularly.