Atherosclerosis – what it is, causes, signs,symptoms, complications, treatment and prevention

Atherosclerosis – systemic damage of large and medium arteries
caliber, accompanied by lipid accumulation, growth
fibrous fibers, endothelial dysfunction of the vascular wall and
leading to local and general hemodynamic disorders.

Diseases of the cardiovascular system threaten humanity with their
serious complications: cerebral stroke and acute
myocardial infarction. Withчины смертности от этих заболеваний
superior to all others. Atherosclerosis is the main pathology
affecting those interested in blood supply vital

More on what this disease is, why it is
affects people and what symptoms are characteristic for him – further in

What is atherosclerosis?


Atherosclerosis is a chronic arterial disease that occurs
due to lipid metabolism disorders (a wide group of organic
compounds, including fatty acids) and accompanied
the deposition of cholesterol in the inner lining of blood vessels.

Subsequently, this “contamination”, the walls of blood vessels thicken, and
clearance decreases, their elasticity is lost, resulting in
blockages occur. Due to the deformation of the vessels, there is a load on
heart because he needs more effort to pump blood.

With атеросклерозе происходит поражение артерий среднего и
large caliber, elastic (large arteries, aorta) and
muscular-elastic (mixed: carotid, arteries of the brain
and hearts) types. Therefore, atherosclerosis is the most common

  • myocardial infarction,
  • CHD,
  • brain stroke
  • circulatory disorders of the lower extremities, abdominal aorta,
    мезентериальных и почечных arteries.

Symptoms of atherosclerosis in nature and intensity
significantly different from each other depending on the affected
organs. Therefore, determine the type of disease and put the exact
diagnosis can only be a doctor.


First of all, we note that the occurrence and subsequent
the formation of atherosclerosis depends on the following factors:

  • the condition in which the vascular walls are located;
  • the relevance of the genetic hereditary factor;
  • disorders in fat (lipid) metabolism.

The average age at which atherosclerosis most often affects
the human body is from 40 to 45 years old.

Men are prone to atherosclerosis 3 and sometimes 4 times more often,
than women, this is due to the fact that prevention of atherosclerosis in
strong sex is often not taken seriously.

To date, there are five main factors that
contribute to the development and further progression of atherosclerosis,

  • Heredity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Metabolic and endocrine disorders (precursors
  • Nutrition Factor (a large amount of food enters the body
    fatty, protein foods and cholesterol)
  • Nervous disturbances (alter lipid-protein balance)

Withчинами развития атеросклероза являются:

  • high blood pressure,
  • smoking,
  • diabetes,
  • elevated blood cholesterol.

But the main cause of atherosclerosis is a violation
cholesterol metabolism. Atherosclerosis formation is
a natural process that begins around 10–15 years old. WITH
age can slow down and accelerate.


The process of accumulation of cholesterol complexes and formation
atheromatous plaques at first signs of atherosclerosis do not
gives. However, striking, in general, all the vessels of the body,
some he gives special preference. WITH точки зрения патогенеза
This can be assumed based on the characteristics of those or
other pathological conditions.

Depending on the activity of the course of atherosclerotic
process emit:

  • progressive atherosclerosis – the formation of new ones continues
    or growth of atheromatous plaques formed, gradually
    clinical manifestations are aggravated, the risk of complications is high;
  • stabilized atherosclerosis – the development and formation of new
    plaques are suspended, clinical manifestations remain without
    changes or regress, the risk of complications is low;
  • регрессирующий – клинические симптомы идут на убыль,
    improves general condition and laboratory blood counts.

Thus, depending on the predominant localization
process distinguish these types of atherosclerosis:

  • Atherosclerosis of the heart vessels;
  • Atherosclerosis of the aorta;
  • Atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels;
  • Atherosclerosis of the renal arteries;
  • Atherosclerosis of the abdominal aorta and its branches;
  • Atherosclerosis of vessels of the lower extremities.

Общее поражение всех артерий организма встречается довольно
seldom. Очень часто наблюдается закупорка
сосудов определенных органов: brain и hearts, нижних
limbs or kidneys. The progression of atherosclerosis is expressed in
that with intensive functional load on the organ
blood to it turns out to be insufficient. This leads to unpleasant
sensations from the organ.

WITHрок и стремительность развития атеросклероза предсказать
pretty hard. It can be years or months. Everything
depends on the characteristics of the metabolism, metabolic rate,
the presence of predisposition to atherosclerosis and diseases,
increase the risk of its development, and many other factors.


In modern cardiology, the following stages are distinguished.

  1. The first stage. WITHнижение скорости системного кровотока, рост
    fatty spots, no painful symptoms.
  2. Second stage Liposclerosis is accompanied by proliferation and
    the spread of adipose tissue, a high probability of blood clot and
    circulatory disorders.
  3. The third stage. Atherocalcinosis is accompanied by compaction
    atherosclerotic plaques, calcium deposition, vascular deformity
    and narrowing of the lumen with the risk of blockage.

WITHимптомы атеросклероза

Clinical symptoms are associated with localization and developmental stage.
atherosclerotic lesions. Proved that signs appear
при поражении 50% и более просвета vessel.

WITHимптомы атеросклероза лучше рассматривать в соответствии с его
localizations, that is, to describe the manifestations of an isolated form
diseases. This allows them some detail, because
there may be signs of atherosclerosis of the aorta and peripheral vessels
absolutely the same.


There is the following classification of common symptoms:

  • ischemic – unstable tissue ischemia occurs in the form of
    attacks of angina (from the heart), intermittent claudication (in
    lower limbs);
  • trombonekrotichesky – more serious complications in
    виде инсульта, myocardial infarction, гангрены стоп;
  • fibrous – cardiologists know cases of gradual replacement
    muscle fibers of the heart fibrous tissue with the formation of areas

The most susceptible to the development of atherosclerosis is the aorta,
cerebral vessels, lower extremity vessels, coronary
(coronary) arteries of the heart, mesenteric and renal arteries.
WITHимптомы атеросклеротических изменений в этих случаях отличаются и
directly depend on the localization of the pathological process.

Atherosclerosis WITHимптомы и признаки
  • burning or pressing pain in the chest, which is often
    gives back to left shoulder and back;
  • dizziness;
  • severe shortness of breath, due to which the patient often feels that he
    not enough air. In a prone position, the condition worsens to
    the fact that a person is just choking and cannot breathe;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting.
  • manifested gradually increasing arterial
    гипертонии,  шумами, появляющимися перед брюшным отделом aorta
  • Complication in this case is insufficient blood supply
    brain and as a result – dizziness, fainting,
abdominal WITHимптомы атеросклероза aorta abdominal:

  • нарушения стула: поносы, запоры;
  • flatulence (increased gas formation);
  • mild aching pain after eating;
  • prolonged weight loss;
  • severe abdominal pain that does not subside even with
    taking painkillers;
  • renal failure;
  • increased blood pressure.
lower limbs
  • Muscle pain when walking. The so-called “intermittent
    limping “when the patient is forced to stop while walking,
    to wait out the painful attack.
  • The episodic disappearance of the pulse. In the lower arteries affected
  • Trophic disorders. Manifest in changing skin
    limbs, hair loss, brittle nails.
  • noise in ears;
  • головные боли (цефалгия), головокружения;
  • high blood pressure;
  • расстройство сна (бессонница или постоянное желание
  • lethargy, fatigue;
  • change in personality behavior;
  • increased nervousness, excitability;
  • respiratory disorders, slurred speech, difficulty with
    chewing and swallowing food;
  • problems with the coordination of movement, orientation in
  • memory impairment, chest pain, shortness of breath.

In addition to the above violations, it is also necessary to note
neurosis-like, or as they are called, depressive

  • bad mood and increased tearfulness;
  • complete lack of desire to work, learn, have fun.
renal arteries
  • Manifested by changes in urine and persistent increase
    blood pressure.

If both arteries underwent atherosclerotic changes,
in addition to increasing blood pressure, the following are observed

  • pain in the lower back and abdomen, nausea,
  • temperature rise, chills;
  • serious deterioration of the general condition.

Complications and consequences for the body

If atherosclerosis occurs in a complicated form, it is not excluded.
complications even after prolonged treatment. Especially dangerous
the consequences of the operation, so it is necessary to carefully
prepare for surgery, undergo a diagnosis and
pass all the necessary tests.

Complications Mechanism Withмеры
WITHужение и обызвествление сосуда
  • The rapid growth of fibrous plaque
  • Plaque hemorrhage
Myocardial ischemia
Thrombus formation with occlusion of the lumen
  • Plaque rupture
  • Plaque hemorrhage
Myocardial infarction, stenocardia, cerebral infarction
Peripheral emboli
  • Moving atheromatous material from large vessels to
    smaller ones
Embolic stroke, kidney failure
The decrease in the strength of the vessel wall
  • Muscle cell atrophy
Aortic aneurysm

It is possible to prevent complications in case of already developed atherosclerosis,
if you take prescribed medications and follow the recommendations
attending physician. If there are concomitant diseases, their treatment
It is also a mandatory measure in the prevention of complications.


Treatment of atherosclerosis usually begins with a therapist (general practitioner
practitioner or family doctor), then the patient picks himself up:

  • A cardiologist, if the process involves more of the heart,
    aorta and coronary vessels;
  • Neurologist when it comes to vessels of the neck and head;
  • Nephrologist with kidney damage;
  • Atherosclerotic lesion of peripheral vessels usually
    engaged angiosurgeon.

The primary diagnosis of atherosclerosis is carried out by a therapist in
standard annual patient examinations for this
direction. For this, pressure is measured, factors are identified
risk contributing to the development of atherosclerosis is measured by an index
body mass.

As a clarifying measure can be applied
The following research methods:

  • ECG (echocardiography) in combination with ultrasound of the aorta and heart, as well as
    with special load tests;
  • Invasive research methods (coronarography, angiography,
    ultrasound intravascular examination);
  • Duplex scanning, triplex scanning (research
    subject to blood flow by ultrasound imaging
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), through which
    visualization of atherosclerotic plaques and walls

A blood test for determining lipid levels and
cholesterol, especially “bad” (it should not exceed the figure
5.2 mmol / l). Atherosclerosis, there is an increased level
total cholesterol and lowering good ..


Treatment атеросклероза является сложным, кропотливым и достаточно
lengthy. For the patient, the most difficult test is
compulsory rejection of established habits over the years
and inclinations.

The patient must refuse:

  • habitual meal
  • change the general mode and the power mode,
  • constantly carry out the treatment prescribed by the doctor,
  • increase locomotor activity
  • normalize the conditions of life and work, take timely
    retarding disease progression measures.

In the treatment of atherosclerosis, the following

  • restricting cholesterol intake and decreasing
    its synthesis by tissue cells;
  • усиление выведения холестерина и его метаболитов из
  • use of estrogen replacement therapy in women
  • exposure to infectious pathogens.

Cholesterol intake is limited.
the appointment of a diet that excludes cholesterol-containing foods.
Known drugs of three groups:

  • statins (simvastatin, atorvastatin and the strongest
    rosuvastatin) – the mechanism of action is associated with an obstacle to production
    cholesterol in the liver;
  • fatty acid sequestrants – block fatty acids and
    forcing the liver to waste lipoproteins on digestion;
  • nicotinic acid – dilates blood vessels, increases
    blood flow.


To a large extent, the diet is based on the principles of proper
food, which includes fish and vegetable oils – rape,
sunflower, soy, olives; should also include vegetables and fruits,
various herbs (basil, oregano, dill).

In case of a disturbed lipid profile, fat should be limited, especially
the so-called “bad”, which consists of saturated fat
acids and cholesterol. Should be avoided:

  • fatty meats, mainly pork, pates, skins
    poultry lard;
  • fat dairy products (butter, ice cream, fat milk),
    egg white;
  • margarine, cream, palm oil.

In the menu of a person who cares about the condition of his vessels,
must be:

  • Seasonal vegetables and fruits, dishes from them;
  • Low-fat meats (lean beef, chicken without
  • Any fish;
  • A sufficient amount of non-alcoholic drink – juices, fruit drinks,
    compotes, kvass;
  • Whole cereal cereals;
  • Vegetable oils for cooking first and second courses,
    salad dressing.

Surgical treatment of atherosclerosis

As a determining factor of the further state,
the basis of which is considered the prognosis of atherosclerosis,
the patient’s lifestyle is coming forward. If the organs begin on the background
diseases develop areas of necrosis in combination with acute
circulatory disorders, the prognosis is worsening.

In modern medical practice, the development of three
main method of surgical treatment of atherosclerosis.

Highly invasive Minimally invasive method
  • Shunting The essence of the shunting is hemming
    the affected vessel to healthy, thanks to which a new
    circulatory system, and tissue blood supply gradually
  • Angioplasty. The essence of the method is to introduce through
    femoral artery specialized catheter which is under
    camera control is moving along the bloodstream
    endoscopist to the affected area. Thereafter
    are made necessary cleaning or expansion manipulations
  • Vascular prosthetics. Modern materials allow
    completely replace the affected vessel and restore function
    blood supply.

Folk remedies

Before using folk remedies for atherosclerosis, be sure to
consult with a cardiologist.

  1. 50 g of cloves put in a glass container, pour 500 ml
    vodka, insist composition for 2-3 weeks. Take 1
    hl infusion three times a day, while making sure that
    chronic diseases of the stomach are absent.
  2. It is necessary to mix equal parts of chamomile, St. John’s wort, train,
    plantain and sage, then put 1 tbsp. collection in boiling water (150
    ml) per day. From the resulting herbal infusion must be done
    application to sore spots twice daily.
  3. Honey from atherosclerosis. Mix a tablespoon of honey with the same
    In the amount of yogurt, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder.
    Take a mixture of a teaspoon in the morning and evening. The course of treatment –
    10-15 days.
  4. Collected by tsp strawberry leaves, mint, dill, horsetail,
    dandelion roots and wild rose berries combined with 300 ml of boiling water,
    leave for two hours, then clear the infusion from the collection. Take it
    should be within a month for 150 ml at intervals of 5 hours.
  5. Полезно применять следующее народное средство: 1 hl horseradish
    натертого на мелкой терке перемешать с 2 hl honey Take for 1
    an hour before breakfast. The course of treatment is 1 month.


In many ways, the prognosis of atherosclerosis is determined by the behavior and
way of life of the patient. Elimination of possible risk factors
and active drug therapy can delay the development
atherosclerosis and achieve improvement in the patient’s condition. With
the development of acute circulatory disorders with the formation of foci
necrosis in organs, the prognosis worsens.


Primary prevention of atherosclerosis involves:

  • Контроль и достижение целевого уровня холестерина  (общий
    cholesterol up to 5 mmol / l, LDL cholesterol below 3 mmol / l).
  • Quitting smoking, drinking, taking
    of drugs.
  • Adequate level of physical activity.
  • Нормализация body mass.
  • Limiting emotional overload.
  • Normal blood glucose values.
  • Blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg.
  • Compliance with the principles of anti-atherosclerotic diet.

What is secondary prevention?

The complex of purely medical measures aimed at inhibition
atherosclerotic processes in the vessels of the brain, heart and lower
limbs with an existing disease, is called secondary
prevention, the purpose of which are:

  • Reduced A / D performance to at least 140/80 mm. Hg v .;
  • Constant intake of antiplatelet agents – clopidogrel and aspirin;
  • Appointment of statins to achieve normal lipid levels in
    blood (this figure is about 2.6 mmol / l, for some patients
    let’s say the rate of 4-4.5 mmol / l).

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