The word "atherosclerosis" comes from the Greek words "athero" ("pasta") and "sclerosis" ("hardness"). That is why the condition is also called "hardening of the arteries".
Arteriosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol, calcium and other substances, collectively referred to as plaque, block your blood vessels. This blocks the bloodflow to your vital organs, especially the heart.
Atherosclerosis is a complex condition that usually begins early in life and progresses as people age. Most people experience the complications of having arteriosclerosis in middle age.
However, the starting stages can already start during childhood. Studies have shown that children from 10 to 14 years old can show the early stages of atherosclerosis.
The disease starts slowly and progresses over time. If you have high cholesterol, the excess cholesterol will eventually begin to collect on your vascular walls. The body then responds to the build-up by sending white blood cells to attack the cholesterol, just as they would attack a bacterial infection.
The cells die after eating cholesterol and the dead cells also begin to collect in the artery. This leads to inflammation. If the inflammation lasts longer, scars will occur.
In this phase, plaque formation begins as fat cells (cholesterol), calcium and other waste products attach themselves to the inside of the artery wall, which eventually hardens.
If more and more plaque adheres, the artery wall becomes narrower and narrower, which means that the blood cannot reach the areas it needs to reach.
Researchers do not know exactly how or why it starts. It is believed that plaque starts to build up in arteries after the inner wall has been damaged. The most common causes of this damage are:
The blood vessels carry oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to all organs such as your heart, liver, skin, brain and kidneys. If the vessels become blocked, the relevant organs do not receive the necessary "fuel" to function optimally.
Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, leads to many health problems, including stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and dementia.
There is also a higher risk that when a blood clot from another part of the body breaks, it can get stuck in a narrow artery and cut off the blood flow completely, potentially causing a heart attack or stroke.
Heart disease. When plaque accumulates in your coronary arteries (the large blood vessels that carry blood to your heart), you are at increased risk of a heart attack.
Carotid artery disease. When plaque accumulates in the large blood vessels on either side of your neck (the carotid arteries that carry blood to your brain), you are at greater risk of having a stroke.
Peripheral vascular disease. When plaque accumulates in the large arteries that carry blood to your arms and legs, it can cause pain and numbness and even lead to serious infections.
Kidney disease. When plaque accumulates in the large arteries that carry blood to your kidneys, they cannot work properly. If your kidneys do not function well, they cannot remove waste from your body, which can lead to serious complications.
If you have symptoms, such as a weak pulse near a large artery, lower blood pressure near an arm or leg, or signs of an aneurysm, your doctor may notice these during a regular physical examination. Results of a blood test can tell the doctor if you have high cholesterol.
Other tests include:
You can prevent arteriosclerosis to ensure that your body produces enough nitric oxide in your veins.
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Regular exercise can help fight arteriosclerosis by reducing the amount of fat in your blood, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and keeping your weight under control.
It is never too late to start exercising. Brisk walking, swimming and cycling are good choices. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day with moderate cardio.
High levels of cholesterol are not the only risk factor in developing atherosclerosis, but they are an important contributor.
There are two types of cholesterol.
Total cholesterol must be lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL)
The more you reduce the level of LDL, the more likely it is that your plaque will stop growing.
Eat healthy fats. Olive oil, avocado and nuts are healthy options.
Eat more fiber. Increase the consumption of whole grains and take 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Eat leaner meat.. Grass-fed beef and chicken or turkey breast are good examples.
Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking regularly can increase your blood pressure, contribute to weight gain and disrupt restful sleep.
Maintain normal blood pressure.
Niacine is also known as vitamin B-3. It is found in foods such as liver, chicken, tuna and salmon. Your doctor may recommend niacin supplements to help lower your cholesterol, as this may increase your "good" cholesterol levels by more than 30 percent.
It can also lower triglycerides, another type of fat that increases your risk of heart disease. Niacin supplements can make your skin red and spiky, and they can cause nausea. The daily recommended amount of niacin is 16 mg for men.
It is 14 mg for most women, 17 mg for breastfeeding women and 18 mg for pregnant women. Do not take more than the recommended amount without first talking to your doctor.
With atherosclerosis, your arteries become narrower. Fatty substances in the blood can stick to the inner wall of a vein and accumulate. We call such a blockage 'plaque'. Normally, our body clears this plaque unless it becomes too much, it then settles into the blood vessel wall.
Gradually, this plaque becomes an impenetrable hard lump that begins to stiffen the vessel wall, this is the beginning of arteriosclerosis. As the artery becomes further clogged, part of your body may not receive enough blood.
The plaque in the vein may also rupture, leading to a blood clot and the blood vessel becoming completely occluded.
Another risk of arteriosclerosis is sagging of the vessel wall where the vessel wall dilates and may rupture, resulting in internal bleeding.
Besides hereditary factors, an unhealthy lifestyle contributes to the cause of arteriosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis can lead to narrowing of the leg arteries. The blood supply to the legs then decreases, the leg muscles get less oxygen, which leads to pain when walking. These are the symptoms of clogged veins in the legs.
Arteriosclerosis in the legs develop slowly. At first, you don't notice much of it. At rest, the legs still get enough oxygen. Gradually, you develop symptoms when walking, cycling or running. The muscles turn sour, so to speak.
You will notice this by a stabbing pain and cramps in the legs. By standing still, for example in front of a shop window, the pain disappears. The condition is therefore also known as shop-window legs.
Working against the causes of arteriosclerosis largely prevents arteriosclerosis.
Nitric oxide(NO) is essential in bringing about vasodilation.NO(nitric oxide) is produced by the inner layer of the veins from Arginine. This discovery was made by 3 American pharmacologists and their research was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1998.
In people with atherosclerosis, or arteriosclerosis, the release of NO is reduced while the contraction of the smooth muscle cells in the vessel wall, i.e. vasoconstriction, is increased
A lack of NO increases the permeability of the endothelium (the inner layer of the vein wall). This allows monocytes and lipoproteins to more easily invade the cell wall and form plaques.(1)
Reduced NO production is often a consequence of reduced production. From the age of 23, NO production slowly decreases. This may be due to a reduced supply of the amino acid arginine. We need arginine to produce NO. As we get older, we absorb arginine more slowly.
To be able to absorb arginine properly, Recover-Me has developed a special formula, a powder with specific ingredients to maximize the absorption of arginine and a noticeably increased production of NO.
After thousands of studies, we now know that NO is involved not only in vasodilation but also in communication between cells in the immuno-inflammatory system and in the central nervous system.
1. Verhaar MC. Assessment and pharmacological modulation of endothelial function in humans. Dissertation, April 14, 1999, Utrecht. Chapter 1.
Arteriosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), usually has no symptoms in its early stages.
However, over time, the build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances can cause the arteries to narrow and harden, which can reduce blood flow to different parts of the body and cause various symptoms, including:
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