Atherosclerosis, also referred to as “hardening of the arteries,” is a disease that hosts fatty deposits, such as fat and cholesterol, on the inner lining arteries. This disease will eventually cause narrowing or rupturing of the vessels.
This fatty build-up in the artery walls will eventually grow into plaque and may become begin to reduce blood flow through an artery, ultimately reducing the oxygen supply. The plaques will also destroy artery walls and their elasticity. If the plaques rupture they form blood clots that can block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body. This process ultimately deprives vital organs of their blood supply.
Unless a complication arises, there are no symptoms for this disease. Although the exact cause of atherosclerosis is unknown, there are many factors that play a role. Atherosclerosis may begin in childhood and progress as people age. In some individuals it progresses rapidly.
Other risk factors include:
• Elevated levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood
• High blood pressure
• Tobacco smoke
• Fatty diet
• Family history of heart disease
• Physical inactivity
Currently surgery is the only available treatment for this disease. However, preventative measures can be taken to reduce your risk of acquiring the disease such as incorporating a healthy diet and exercise routine. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and monitoring cholesterol levels and blood pressure would also be beneficial.