Atherosclerosis Treatment Question and Answers
Atherosclerosis can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other circulatory conditions. Call us today for more information or book an appointment online. We are open 5 days a week! We are located at 7733 Forsyth Blvd, 11th floor, St Louis, MO 63105.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries in which plaques of fatty materials are deposited on the inner arterial walls. It is considered a type of arteriosclerosis. In mild cases of atherosclerosis, there usually are not any symptoms. However, symptoms do not typically appear until an artery becomes so narrowed or clogged that the blood supply cannot reach organs and other bodily tissues. It can result in blood clots that can potentially completely block blood flow, which may trigger a heart attack or stroke. Thankfully, there are treatment options for atherosclerosis that can help people manage their condition and improve their quality of life.
What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is characterized by the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the arterial walls. This buildup is called plaque. The plaque can cause arteries to narrow, which impedes the flow of blood. The plaque can also burst, which has the potential to lead to a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in the body, including the arms, legs and abdomen. Atherosclerosis can be treated. Healthy lifestyle habits can aid in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
What causes atherosclerosis?
The cause of atherosclerosis is not clearly understood. However, it is clear that atherosclerosis causes a gradual buildup of plaque due to inflammation that occurs on the inside of the arterial walls. This reduces blood flow and oxygen supply to the vital body organs and extremities, which may result in a tingling sensation or pain.
What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis?
Risk factors for atherosclerosis include:
- High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure
- Type 1 diabetes
- Physical inactivity
- High saturated fat diet
What are the 3 stages of atherosclerosis?
Although the exact process of atherosclerosis is not completely understood, scientists have described three different stages that lead to clogged arteries, which is the main symptom of atherosclerosis. These stages do not necessarily occur in order, nor is there always a consecutive progression from one stage to the next. The stages include:
- The fatty streak — The “fatty streak” appears as a yellow streak that runs along the inside of the walls of the major arteries, including the aorta. The streak consists of cellular matter, including cholesterol and white blood cells. By itself, the fatty streak does not cause symptoms of heart disease. However, it can develop into a more advanced form of atherosclerosis, which is known as fibrous plaque.
- The plaque — A plaque forms in the inner layer of the artery, which is a buildup of substances such as calcium, white blood cells, and cholesterol. Over time, plaque causes the artery to narrow, and the artery can become hardened.
- Blocked artery — If the plaque tears or ruptures, a blockage in the artery can happen. This rupture exposes the cholesterol and tissue that was under the fibrous cap, which causes blood clots to form. The blood clot blocks the blood flow in the artery, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
Do cardiologists treat atherosclerosis?
Yes, cardiologists are the foremost healthcare professional to treat any cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis. If you are looking for a trusted cardiologist to treat your atherosclerosis, come to Apollo Cardiology in St Louis, MO!
At Apollo Cardiology, our healthcare professionals are dedicated to helping you with all of your cardiovascular needs. We strive to provide each individual with the highest level of care possible, and focus on treatments and therapies that will improve your overall health and quality of life. Call us today or book an appointment for atherosclerosis treatment, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 7733 Forsyth Blvd, 11th floor, St Louis, MO 63105. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from St. Louis MO, Richmond Heights MO, Clayton MO, and Maplewood MO.