Many diseases may affect a human’s heart. One of these diseases is an arteriosclerotic heart disease. The disease occurs in a person because there is a thickening or blockage of artery walls that occur due to the presence of fat build-up along the walls. The formation of plaque is also known as arteriosclerosis which is usually a result of cholesterol fats, nicotine, high blood pressure and unbalanced blood sugar level. The arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease is severe and chances of development increases as people aged.
Arteriosclerotic heart disease also referred to as ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease (CHD), is a common term used for a group of disorders where there are thickening and elasticity loss, as well as hardening of artery walls. The most common form of arteriosclerosis (another term for arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease) is atherosclerosis.
Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease
Who Are At Risk For Heart Disease?
Certain groups of people are more prone to develop the disease compared to others. Thus, if you see yourself as a high-risked individual from the list below, it is imperative that you get a check-up with your doctor to maintain your health, or prevent aggravating circumstances of an already existing and untreated problem.
- If you have someone in the family with the arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the chances that you will develop the condition is also high, especially if the particular family member develop it before the age of 50.
- Men in 40s are at an increased risk of the disease in comparison to women. However, as women reach menopause, their risk will be almost equal to that of the men.
- Medical conditions. Medical conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease will also increase the risk of CHD.
- Abnormal cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels should be maintained at its proper levels. If not, it might be a big factor in leading the way to disease development.
- Bad lifestyle. Smoking, no exercise, improper food nutrition as well as intake of alcohol may increase the chances of developing a heart disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arteriosclerosis?
Once started, arteriosclerosis will never stop. It is a progressive disease which develops gradually. What is quite alarming is the fact that it can be asymptomatic during its early stage that you will not be aware of the illness taking place. The symptoms will show as the blockage becomes so severe or the artery is narrowed that blood supply to an organ is already affected.
Should signs and symptoms of arteriosclerotic heart disease occur, these can be:
- High blood pressure brought about by narrowed arteries
- Muscle pains from muscles that do not receive enough blood supply
- Heart attack or stroke due to death of tissue when artery that supplies the blood is completely obstructed
- Chest pain or discomfort in the chest is the most common symptom since the heart has no enough blood and oxygen anymore. The pain may feel like someone is squeezing your heart and it is usually felt just under your breastbone or sternum. Pain may also radiate to different parts of your body such as the neck, upper back, arms, and stomach. It will also occur during activity or intense emotion and will go away if you get some rest or take nitroglycerin.
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue during exertion
What Are The Diagnostic Tests That Confirm The Presence Of Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease?
Diagnosing arteriosclerosis does not rely on the pure assessment of signs and symptoms alone. Different tests should be done to verify and correctly diagnose that the patient indeed has some problems with his heart. These diagnostic and definitive tests that your doctor may order include:
- Computed Tomography (CT) Angiography. Coronary angiography is performed in a non-invasive method.
- Coronary angiography/ arteriography. The heart arteries are being evaluated through an x-ray. It is an invasive procedure.
- Electrocardiogram or ECG
- Excercise stress test
- Electro-bream computed tomography (EBCT). Used to look for calcium in the artery linings. The presence of more calcium in the linings means the increase chances of having CHD.
- Nuclear scan
What Are The Treatments For Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease?
Treatments may be given to target the underlying cause such as medications for high blood pressure levels, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. If the disease is already present, preventing it from getting worse will be the primary objective of the treatment. In this case, it is very important that you should follow your doctor’s orders very carefully.
Treatments are done depending on the symptoms that you are manifesting and will often include the following:
- There are many medications to choose from in treating your CHD case. Your doctor will decide which among the medications suit your needs: ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, nitrates or statins.
Never ever stop taking these drugs abruptly. If you want to discontinue your medication, talk to your physician first because sudden discontinue of drugs may lead to a heart attack or worsen your angina.
- Procedures and surgeries. Certain procedures and surgery may also be done for severe cases. This includes angioplasty and stent placement known as percutaneous coronary interventions or PCIs, minimally invasive heart surgery, or the more complicated coronary artery bypass surgery.
- Lifestyle changes. Since most of the causes are related to unhealthy lifestyle, changing your routines to a healthy one will help slow down disease progression. Thus, it is important that you eat a healthy heart diet, get enough exercise while maintaining a healthy weight, control your blood sugar levels and stop smoking.
Can Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease Be Prevented?
If you do not yet, have the disease, congratulations! Being free from the bondage of the disease means that there are still ways that you can do to decrease your risk of acquiring it. Lifestyle changes as seen above in the treatment are the keys among all defensive techniques.
Also, having regular doctor appointments that will check your heart’s status. And critical measures, monitoring your heart and assures that you are safe from any problems.