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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.

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 limbs (extremities).
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 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.
 

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