Talking about atherosclerosis brings to mind the character of Dr. House in the TV series of the same name, “House”. He gave the ideology of atherosclerosis in a very imaginative way. Based on that, atherosclerosis is the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels specifically the arteries that carry oxygenated blood to the body. In addition, the cholesterol deposits become hardened, and they are called plaques. It gets interesting now; if the deposition of the cholesterol is in the cerebral blood vessels, then the individual gets a stroke. If the buildup is in the coronary blood vessels that perfuse the cardiac muscles, then the person has a heart attack. Furthermore, the same scenario occurs in the leg that is referred to as a peripheral vascular disease.
Clinically, atherosclerosis can be defined as an illness in which plaque is formed and narrows the arteries to disturb the flow of blood. Arteries are blood vessels that convey oxygen-rich blood to your heart and different parts of your body. Plaque is comprised of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and various substances found in the blood. After some time, plaque solidifies and clogs your arteries. This restrains the stream of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and different parts of your body. Atherosclerosis can prompt severe conditions, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
What Causes Atherosclerosis?
The particular cause of atherosclerosis is not known. In any case, research demonstrates that atherosclerosis is a gradually progressing complex disease that may have begun from a very young age. It becomes worse as one gets older. Atherosclerosis may begin when there is harm to the inner layers of the blood vessels. The causative components include:
- High Blood Pressure
- High cholesterol
- Inflammation from diseases, such as arthritis, lupus or infections
- Abdominal obesity
- Excess alcohol intake
- Lack of regular exercise
Plaque may start to develop where the blood vessels are damaged. After some time, plaque solidifies and narrows the channel of the blood flow. Inevitably, some portions of the plaque can break off. At the point when this happens, blood cells called platelets adhere to the site of the damage. They may cluster together to become blood clumps referred to as blood clots. Blood clots considerably causes blockage all the more in the arteries, hindering the stream of oxygen-rich blood to your body. Therefore, issues erupt in different locations of the body where the clots are lodged causing angina which is strong chest pain felt around the heart or in some other cases it may cause a heart attack or even cerebral stroke.
A few people who have atherosclerosis have no signs or indications. The condition of atherosclerosis may not be diagnosed until in the event of a heart attack or stroke. The fundamental treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle modifications. You additionally may require prescriptions and therapeutic strategies. These medicines, alongside continuous care, can enable the individual to carry on with a more beneficial life.
How do my Cholesterol Levels Contribute to Atherosclerosis?
Cholesterol is a sort of fat found in your blood. Your liver makes it since cells, and specific organs require it. Your body additionally gets cholesterol from a portion of the food you eat. In any case, if your body gets it in excess, the cholesterol can do substantial harm, particularly inside your arteries. A few people believe that all cholesterol is “bad”. However, there are various types of cholesterol, and a lot of just a type of cholesterol is not good. In any case, there is another sort of cholesterol that is “great” since it helps keep your body well.
LDL, low-density lipoprotein, is the “bad” cholesterol. LDL can harm the arteries that convey blood from your heart to whatever is left of your body. At that point, once the harm has begun, LDL continues infiltrating and developing in the wall of the blood vessels.
As the cholesterol stores continue to increase your body endeavors to tidy them up. White blood cells and the immune system of the body form a framework of protection against the progression of the plaque and engulf it. However, after some time, those cells and the subsequent debris turn out to become a part of the clogs. Over the years, the accumulation grows bigger and shape what is called plaque.
HDL, also known as the high-density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol. HDL courses through your body, acting like a cholesterol magnet. It gets together the bad cholesterol and moves it out of your blood vessels. In the long run, a significant part of the cholesterol is either disposed of out of your body, transported to the tissues, for example, the liver or used to make hormones.
How Does Atherosclerosis Contribute to Cardiovascular Disease?
The first thing to understand is that Cardiovascular diseases are medical issues that have to do with the heart but not the heart directly. One of the major structures that are affected in atherosclerosis is the coronary vessels that supply the heart with its blood supply. The challenge lies in the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, and the havoc wrecked by the presence of cardiovascular disease is the rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque.
Since atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that develops over time, and its primary site of damage is inside the arteries, the coronary arteries are automatically in danger. Since the coronary arteries are vital to the functioning of the heart and anything affecting their flow, whether it is a speck of the plaque, it can be disastrous for the heart’s arteries but more importantly the heart itself.
Atherosclerosis has been around for quite a long time, and there is no automatic technique to explain or eradicate it. The vessels suffer the most and the best we could is to have a lifestyle modification and try our best to keep a very active and fit lifestyle. However, many advances in the medical world are very promising. Also, many scientists are beginning to have a better understanding of the concept of atherosclerosis. The future holds a lot of solution, and we can only try our best to live right to best of our abilities till then. Once you suspect anything relating to atherosclerotic, especially knowing that you consume cholesterol-rich diet, endeavor to seek medical advice, and solution from the doctor.