What is arteriosclerosis?
The literal translation of arteriosclerosis means hardening of the arteries, the tubes that come out of our heart and carry blood throughout our body. Now, atherosclerosis is not simply a hardening or aging of these arteries over the years, but it is a disease that deteriorates, spoils and gradually narrows our arteries preventing blood from passing and decreasing this blood flow to all our organs.
What causes arteriosclerosis?
The cause of arteriosclerosis disease is basically having a series of risk factors that we all know and that will cause this disease of the arteries and this deterioration of the wall of the arteries that prevents the normal passage of the circulation of blood is more effective. First of all we have to talk about the inheritance. It is more than proven that people with the inheritance of parents with arteriosclerotic disease at younger ages than is usual in our society, will also more easily present the possibility of developing the disease. Now, there are risk factors by all known that we could summarize in 4 basically; the first would be hypertension, that is, the increase in blood pressure that can be due to multiple causes. Cholesterol, this type of fat that is deposited on the inside of our arteries and gradually covering them, preventing blood from circulating and being able to completely cover this artery causing a heart attack or a series of thrombotic lesions. Then there would be diabetes, alteration of the carbohydrates in our blood that also deteriorates the wall of the artery, affecting more to smaller arteries. And finally, and very important, smoking that causes a series of injuries by inhibiting a series of substances that prevent this disease from developing.
What symptoms can alert of the presence of the disease?
The disease can manifest itself in any organ of our body but there are 3 locations that are where more is given. First of all, at the level of the brain, the arteries inside the brain and the arteries that go to the brain, being able to cause cerebral vascular accidents or stroke. Secondly, at the level of the heart, the arteries that irrigate the myocardium diminish its caliber causing angina pectoris, which is this pain when doing an exercise, or a heart attack in which the artery has completely covered up and there is an area of the heart in which there is a death of the cells. And thirdly the most frequent area would be in the lower limbs, the person suffers from pain when walking, which is popularly called intermittent claudication, and because of this pain the person has to stop at certain distances and wait for this pain to disappear. In his evolution obviously the person can have constant pain or pain at rest, ulcerous lesions can appear in the lower limbs and a series of injuries and alterations that will tell us the importance of the disease.
What is the treatment?
The treatment of arteriosclerosis consists basically in the control of risk factors and eliminate factors of type smoking and control of hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol. Second medical treatment to prevent this blood from thrombosis inside the arteries and to slow down the evolution of the fat deposit in its walls. And finally we have the surgical treatments that are the ones that will restore this circulation and the endoluminal treatments, or treatment of the arteries, to widen and allow a better passage of the blood.