Arteriosclerosis, which is otherwise referred to as Atherosclerosis, is a condition that occurs when the blood vessels that are responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body becomes stiff and thick. Even, this thickness can restrict the flow of blood to different tissues and organs in the body. In general, healthy arteries are elastic and flexible, but as years pass by, the walls of the arteries get harder and this condition is generally referred to as hardening of arteries.
Even Atherosclerosis is a type of this condition. However, the two terms are used interchangeable to denote the same condition. Atherosclerosis denotes the gathering of fats and cholesterol and even other substances in and on the walls of the artery called as plaques, thereby restricting the flow of blood. These plaques can even burst, thereby triggering a blood clot. Even though, this condition is considered as a heart problem, it can bring an effect on the healthy functioning of arteries that are present in any part of the human body. The good thing about Atherosclerosis is that it can be treated and even prevented as well.
Generally, both arterio and atherosclerosis develop gradually and mild state of this condition generally does not cause any symptoms. The patient will not experience any symptoms, until the artery becomes too much narrowed or clogged and it faces inability to supply adequate blood to the tissues and organs. In some cases, a blood clot can completely block the flow of blood or even it can even lead to a stroke or heart attack. The symptoms of moderate to severe level of this condition will vary according to the artery that is affected. For instance:
• If the arteries in the heart are affected, the patient might experience chest pain or pressure
• If the arteries leading to the brain are affected, the patient might experience numbness or weakness in arms and legs. Even they will have difficulty in speaking or will have slurred speech or there are chances of drooping muscles in the face as well.
• If the arteries in arms or legs are affected, there will be leg pain when the patient walks for long distances.
• If it happens in kidneys, there are chances of sudden increase in blood pressure or even it can lead to kidney failure
• If it happens in the arteries connected to the genitals, there will be difficulty in lovemaking and it can lead to ED problem in men. In women, it will make the intercourse less pleasurable as the blood flow to the vagina can be affected.
When to seek medical help?
When a patient experiences numbness in arms and legs or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is better to seek medical help. The early the condition is detected, better will be the chances of quicker recovery.
When analyzing the causes behind this condition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, diabetes, inflammation from diseases, high triglycerides in blood and smoking and other sources of tobacco can also lead to this condition.