Atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis: treatment,symptoms, causes, prevention

Update: December 2018

Atherosclerosis affects the vessels of every third person on Earth.
This is the process of formation of “fatty” plaques on the wall of arteries or veins,
which can reach a huge size – up to 7-12 cm in diameter.
With their considerable growth, the lumen of the vessel can completely
overlap, which will lead to an insufficient nutrition of the organ or
stagnation of blood in it. The growth of such plaques in the arteries supplying
heart, leads to ischemic disease (abbreviated –
CHD) and atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis.

If in the first case, changes in the body are often reversible.
(exception – the development of heart attack), then in cardiosclerosis a lesion
cardiac muscle persists for life. In the myocardium occurs
proliferation of connective tissue, due to which it decreases
function and, as a result, the whole body may suffer.

Causes of Cardiosclerosis

The exact cause of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis is unknown.
Doctors believe that a large number of
blood lipids (especially LDL, cholesterol) and vascular damage
(with pressure drops, inflammation, etc.). Most often, these
conditions are observed in people with the following adverse

  • Genetic – if in the past many families suffered
    atherosclerosis, the probability of its development in descendants is high;
  • Age – after 50 years “fatty” plaques on the vessels
    are formed much faster than at a young age. It’s related
    with slowing metabolic processes, reducing liver function and
    changes in the vascular wall. Because of this, lipids last longer
    circulate in the blood and more easily deposited on damaged arteries;
  • Sex – according to statistics, men are prone to atherosclerosis
    more women who are protected by sex hormones (before
  • Bad habits – smoking and alcohol;
  • Excess weight – is determined by a special index (body weight
    в кг/рост2). If the resulting value is less than 25, then the weight
    considered normal;
  • Concomitant diseases – diabetes (especially the second type),
    thyroid insufficiency (hypothyroidism), hepatic
    insufficiency, hypertension (blood pressure above 140/90).

The presence of even one factor significantly increases the risk
the occurrence of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis. This process
always formed gradually, therefore, in a timely manner to determine it
the presence, without the alertness of the patient, is quite difficult. To this
to do, you need to know where the disease begins and how it

How does atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis develop

First of all, a person should change the composition of fats.
blood. The level of “harmful” lipids increases (LDL), and the “beneficial”
decreases (HDL). Because of this, on the walls of the coronary arteries
fat strips appear. Find them in life is impossible, so
as they do not provoke any symptoms.

атеросклеротический кардиосклерозIn the following, lipids
along with the blood cells (platelets) continue to settle in
strip area, forming a full-fledged plaque. As you grow,
it first partially closes the artery. At this time, man
disturb the first signs of coronary artery disease. If the plaque remains
in such a state long enough (for several years) and
the patient does not take lipid-lowering drugs, appears
atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis. As a rule, he wears a diffuse
nature – small foci occur in different areas
cardiac muscle.

Without treatment, the disease gradually progresses – increases
the amount of connective tissue, instead of normal myocardium.
The remaining muscle cells grow in an attempt to preserve function.
heart normal. In the end, this leads to its failure and
the appearance of symptoms.

Symptoms of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis

Patients present two main groups of complaints – manifestations
coronary artery disease and signs of heart failure. To the first
refers pain, which can be recognized by characteristic signs. They
all described in a special questionnaire, answering questions which
the patient can independently suspect IHD.

Pain characteristic Description
Where is it located? Always behind the sternum. This is the most important diagnostic.
What kind of character? The pain is most often aching or pulling. Sometimes, the patient may
complain only about the feeling of discomfort in the chest.
Where irradiates (“gives”)?
  • Left shoulder;
  • Left hand;
  • Left / right scapula;
  • The left side of the chest.

This symptom is non-permanent – in some patients it may

When does it occur? This symptom depends on the type of coronary artery disease:

  • Angina (the most common option) – after
    physical / psychological stress. The more closed the lumen
    coronary artery – the less stress is required to cause
  • Vasospastic stenocardia (Prinzmetala) – at any time
    however, more often at rest or at night;
  • Unstable angina – pain occurs spontaneously.
How strong?

Angina or Prinzmetala – medium / low

Unstable Angina – Possible the appearance of pain.
The patient may “freeze” during the attacks, as he is afraid
aggravate the symptom.

What is removed?

For any form of coronary artery disease (except heart attack), the pain goes away after taking
Nitroglycerin. If it lasts longer than 10 minutes – this is the reason
Call an ambulance.

With stable angina, the pain quickly subsides after a small
rest (5-7 minutes).

In addition to the above symptoms, a patient with atherosclerotic
signs of failure can be detected by cardiosclerosis

  • Shortness of breath that occurs during exercise. Most often, the sick
    notice her when climbing stairs or walking on
    significant distances (more than 400 meters). When far gone
    cardiosclerosis, patient breathing can be difficult even in
  • Edemas – in the first stages, only the legs are affected (in the region of
    feet and shins). Subsequently, swelling can be all over the body,
    including internal organs;
  • Skin and nail changes – patients with severe cardiosclerosis
    note coldness of the hands and feet, constant dryness of the skin. Are possible
    hair loss and deformation of the nails (they become round,
    become convex);
  • A decrease in pressure (below 100/70 mm Hg) appears only on
    background significant changes in the myocardium. Often accompanied
    dizziness and occasional fainting.

Also atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis may be accompanied
rhythm disturbances, the emergence of feelings of “heartbeat” and “failures” in
the work of the heart. However, these symptoms are quite rare.

Diagnosis of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis

Atherosclerosis can be suspected by examining the patient’s venous blood.
To do this, it is enough to perform a biochemical analysis, in which
Be sure to see the following indicators:

Indicator Norm Changes in atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis
Cholesterol 3.3-5.0 mmol / l Increases
LDL (“harmful lipids”) до 3,0  ммоль /л Increases

HDL (“useful


above 1.2 mmol / l Declining
Triglycerides Up to 1.8 mmol / l Increases

In a clinical (general) blood test, as a rule, changes

To confirm the presence of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis,
Doctors use instrumental diagnostics. Most
The following methods are common in Russia:

  • ECG is a cheap and ubiquitous study,
    allowing to suspect cardiosclerosis by the presence of ischemia
    certain areas of the heart;
  • Ultrasound of the heart (EchoCG) – the easiest way to detect
    connective tissue instead of myocardium, estimate the amount
    pathological foci and their size;
  • Coronary angiography is the most accurate and expensive method.
    detection of atherosclerosis. Research is carried out only in large
    hospitals, as it requires expensive consumables
    materials, equipment and highly qualified specialists.
    The standard algorithm for conducting angiography is as follows:

    1. The surgeon inserts a special catheter through the femoral artery.
      (thin tube), which lead through the aorta to the coronary
    2. A contrast agent is inserted into the catheter;
    3. Take a picture of the area of ​​the heart by any X-ray
      method (more often – it is computed tomography).

After confirming the diagnosis, doctors prescribe a complex
treatment. It inhibits the progression of the disease, reduces
the severity of symptoms and reduces the risk of heart attack which is
frequent cause of death of such patients.

Treatment of Atherosclerotic Cardiosclerosis

First of all, patients are advised to stick to a diet.
направленной на снижение количества липидов blood. She is
implies the exclusion of fried, flour, smoked and salty dishes.
The patient’s table should mainly consist of chicken soups.
broth, cereals, dietary meats (chicken, veal, turkey)
and plant products (vegetables, fruits).

The patient should adjust their lifestyle to improve
effect of treatment. Dosed physical exercise required
(swimming, regular walking, easy running) that will
promote weight loss, and increase
tolerance (tolerance) to loads.

Successful treatment of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis is impossible
without complying with the above recommendations, but the important role
also has the right drug therapy. As a rule, she
includes the following groups of drugs:

Read also on the topic:

  • Statins to lower cholesterol
  • Causes of High Cholesterol
  • Increased blood cholesterol – myths and reality
  • How to lower cholesterol in the blood – drugs, foods
  • Cholesterol: норма у женщин и мужчин
  • Atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels – symptoms, treatment
  • How to clear the vessels of cholesterol plaques

  • «Разжижающие» кровь – Аспирин Кардио, Кардиомагнил. Their
    take to inhibit the growth of plaques and blockage of blood vessels.
    Regular use of these drugs prevents heart attack
    myocardium in 76%;
  • Снижающие уровень липидов – Аторвастатин, Розувастатин,
  • Снимающие приступы ИБС – Нитроглицерин в спрее/таблетках
    under the tongue. It works only briefly. With frequent attacks
    recommended forms, valid 8-12 hours: Isosorbide dinitrate
    or mononitrate;
  • Устраняющие отеки – диуретики Верошпирон, Спиронолактон.
    With severe and widespread edema, it is possible to assign
  • Улучшающие прогноз – Эналаприл, Лизиноприл, Каптоприл.
    These drugs reduce the severity of heart failure
    and slightly reduce blood pressure.

This scheme may be supplemented with other drugs, depending
from the condition of the patient. If medications are not able to reduce
symptoms of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis, it is recommended to go
to surgical treatment. It is to improve the blood supply
myocardium through the expansion of the coronary arteries (transluminal
баллонная ангиопластика) or создании обходного тока крови
(coronary artery bypass surgery).

Prevention of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis

The probability of developing this pathology is very high, therefore
prevention should begin at a young age. She is заключается
in a simple lifestyle correction aimed at reducing
lipid levels and prevention of vascular damage. Recommendations
Doctors are as follows:

  • Exercise at least 3 times a week.
    Optimal fit running, sports / ski walking and swimming;
  • Stop smoking, using drugs and taking large doses.
    alcohol (per day is recommended to use no more than 100 g
  • Periodically measure pressure and glucose;
  • Regularly (every 6 months) take a multivitamin
  • To limit fat, flour, smoked food. Dishes do not add salt

Prevent atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis significantly
easier than cure. The above activities help to keep
a decent quality of life for a person even in old age.

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