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.
Atherosclerosis is a common disorder that specifically affects
the medium and large 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 affected
artery to smaller blood vessels, blocking them and causing
tissue damage or death (embolization). This is a common cause of
heart attack and stroke. Blood clots can also form around a tear
(fissure) in the plaque leading to blocked blood flow. If the
clot moves into an artery in the heart, lungs, or brain, it can
cause a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism.
Risk factors for atherosclerosis include Diabetes,
Heavy alcohol use, High Blood Pressure, High
Blood Cholesterol levels,
High-fat diet, Increasing age, Obesity,
personal or family history of Heart Disease, and Smoking.
Atherosclerosis can affect many different organ systems,
including the heart, lungs, brain, intestines, kidneys, and
Symptoms usually do not occur until blood flow becomes
restricted or blocked.
Lifestyle Management in ATHEROSCLEROSIS
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
*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.
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