Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease:


Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a common disorder of the arteries.The word atherosclerosis comes from two Greek words athero (meaning paste) and sclerosis (hardness). It means in plain language hardening of Blood vessels.

What is Arteriosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease in which arteries become thicker and loose elasticity.

Why does Blood Vessel Harden?

The fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood) get attached to the inner lining of an artery. The buildup that results is called plaque. Plaque leads to thickening of blood vessels and in turn hardening of vessels.

Why Plaque Forms?

It is proposed by many that the innermost layer (called Endothelium) of the artery gets damaged. The possible causes of damage are:
1) Elevated levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood
2) High blood pressure
3) Tobacco consumption
4) Diabetes
Because of the damage fats, cholesterol, platelets, cellular waste and calcium get deposited in the artery wall.
What can happen if Plaque forms in Artery?

Plaque may partially or totally block the blood's flow through an artery.
If the wall is thickened sufficiently, the diameter of the artery will be reduced and less blood will flow, thus decreasing the oxygen supply.
It can also lead to bleeding and clot formation in artery. Often a blood clot forms and blocks the artery, stopping the flow of blood.
1) If the oxygen supply to the heart muscle is reduced, heart attack can occur. Tobacco smoke greatly worsens atherosclerosis and speeds its growth in the coronary arteries. Coronary arteries supply blood to Heart muscles.
2) If the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, a stroke can occur
3) If the oxygen supply to the extremities occurs, gangrene can result.
Atherosclerosis is often preventable by following a healthy lifestyle.
Prevent plaque buildup, by eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-salt diet. Treat and control of hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and other diseases. Lose weight if overweight, and stop smoking. Get regular exercise to improve the fitness of heart and circulation.
Thus the Golden rules are:
a. Do not smoke or use Tobacco products.
b. Exercise
c. Eat a Healthy Diet
d. Maintain healthy weight
e. Regular Check-ups.


Heart disease can be prevented. It does not mean self-deprivation. It means adjusting your life to a healthy way of living.

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