مستشفى الدكتور سليمان الحبيب - العلياطريق الملك فهد ، العليا ، الرياض 11564 ، المملكة العربية السعودية, الرياض
Atherosclerosis is the most frequent disease of the arteries. It consists of the formation of plaque in the blood vessels through which oxygen and nutrients are transported. The plaque is a sticky substance formed by fat, cholesterol or calcium, which over time can harden and narrow the arteries causing a lack of blood flow to the tissues and organs. Often affecting the blood vessels near your heart, atherosclerosis can affect blood vessels anywhere in the body.
In general, atherosclerosis does not show symptoms until an artery is reduced too much, or the blood flow in one part of the body slows down or gets blocked. As a result, people suffering from atherosclerosis often don’t realise until they have an emergency. Depending on which arteries are affected the following symptoms might be experienced:
The progression of atherosclerosis is slow and takes time to manifest. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is thought that damage to the artery can cause the build-up of plaque.
Damage to arteries can be caused by:
If the venous wall is damaged, debris and blood cells build up at the injury site, and gradually this builds up, narrowing the diameter of the artery.
It is possible to prevent atherosclerosis with the right lifestyle changes, including:
The following medications can help to slow down the build-up of plaque in the arteries and potentially reverse it:
If medication does not prove effective and more aggressive treatment is needed, surgery might be recommended. Surgically installing a stent into an affected artery will keep the artery open and blood flowing through it. Fatty deposits can also be removed surgically (endarterectomy). Bypass surgery to bypass the damaged blood vessel might be necessary.