The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and the blood vessels. The heart is a four-chambered muscular organ that pumps blood to all parts of the body.( PHO)
The four chambers of the heart are two upper chambers including the right and left atria, and two lower chambers including the right and left ventricles.(PHO)
Arteriosclerosis: Hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis can occur because of fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries (atherosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries, or thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated blood pressure
The name given a group of degenerative diseases of arteries characterized by thickening and hardening of their walls. The group includes three types of lesions: (1) atherosclerosis involves the aorta and its major branches; (2) medial sclerosis involves the muscular arteries of the legs; and (3) arteriolosclerosis involves the small branches of the arterial tree, called the arterioles.
Discuss the causes and symptoms of arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a common disorder of the arteries. It occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques.
Eventually, the plaques can make the artery narrow and less flexible, making it harder for blood to flow. If the coronary arteries become narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop. This can cause chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms.
Pieces of plaque can break off and move through the bloodstream (embolization). This is a common cause of heart attack and stroke. Blood clots can also form around a tear (fissure) in the plaque. Clots block blood flow. If the clot moves into an artery in the heart, lungs, or brain, it can cause a stroke, heart attack, orpulmonary embolism.
Symptoms usually do not occur until blood flow becomes restricted or blocked.
See the specific condition for more details on symptoms:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney disease
- Mesenteric artery ischemia
- Peripheral artery disease
- Renal artery stenosis
- Stroke (cerebrovascular disease)
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm
Discuss treatment options
To help prevent atherosclerosis or its complications (such as heart disease and stroke), make the following lifestyle changes:
Avoid fatty foods. Eat well-balanced meals that are low in fat and cholesterol. Include several daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Adding fish to your diet at least twice a week may be helpful. However, do not eat fried fish.
Do not drink more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day.
Exercise regularly for 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight, and for 60 – 90 minutes a day if you are overweight. Get your blood presure checked every 1 – 2 years, especially if high blood pressure runs in your family. Have your blood pressure checked more often if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or you have had a stroke. Talk to your doctor.
Everyone should keep their blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg
If you have diabetes or have had a stroke or heart attack, your blood pressure should probably be less than 130/80 mm/Hg. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be.
Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis (also known as Arteriosclerotic Vascular Disease or ASVD) is the condition in which an artery wall thickens as the result of a build-up of fatty materials such as cholesterol. It is a syndrome affecting arterial blood vessels, a chronic inflammatory response in the walls of arteries, in large part due to the accumulation of macrophage white blood cells and promoted by Low-density lipoproteins (plasma proteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides) without adequate removal of fats and cholesterol from the macrophages by functional high density lipoproteins (HDL), (see apoA-1 Milano). It is commonly referred to as a hardening or furring of the arteries. It is caused by the formation of multiple plaques within the arteries.
Discuss the causes and symptoms of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and may eventually block the arteries.
Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis. The two terms are often used to mean the same thing.
Risk factors for atherosclerosis include:
- Heavy alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol levels
- High-fat diet
- Increasing age
- Personal or family history of heart disease
Discuss treatment options
How you are treated depends on your age, health history, if you smoke, and other risk factors for heart disease, such as:
- Poorly controlled high blood pressure
- Family history of heart disease
There are steps that everyone can take to improve their cholesterol levels, and help prevent heart disease and heart attack. Here are the most important ones:
- Choose foods low in saturated fat.
- Exercise regularly.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Get routine health checkups and cholesterol screenings.
If lifestyle changes do not help or your cholesterol level remains very high, your doctor may may recommend medication. There are several types of drugs available to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they work in different ways. Some are better at lowering LDL cholesterol, some are good at lowering triglycerides, while others help raise HDL cholesterol.
The most commonly used drugs for treating high LDL cholesterol are called statins. Other drugs that may be used include bile acid sequestering resins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibrates, and nicotinic acid (niacin).
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