Symptoms of the disease depend on the lesion. Since the symptoms in most cases indicate other diseases, it is difficult to diagnose a generalized form of atherosclerosis.
With the development of generalized atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, the following symptoms can be observed:
- pain in the chest;
- heart failure;
- heart rhythm disorder.
Most often, the patient is diagnosed with angina pectoris or heart attack. And only if treatment is ineffective, the doctor can suspect generalized atherosclerosis. The disease can also be asymptomatic for many years. Until sudden death occurs. Therefore, it is important to conduct an annual examination, especially for patients at risk.
In case of damage to the bronchial arteries, the following symptoms occur:
- dizziness (with sudden movements);
- low blood pressure;
- tingling in the limbs;
- impaired vision and speech;
Atherosclerosis of the lower extremities is specific. Pathology is characterized by sudden pain in the leg while walking. The pain is severe, but temporary, after a short rest it subsides, and a person can move on. This phenomenon is called intermittent claudication.
In the initial stages, the disease is accompanied by rapid fatigue and numbness of the fingers. If untreated, a complete blockage of the vessels is possible, accompanied by edema and gangrene.
Generalized atherosclerosis is dangerous for its complications. It leads to such pathologies:
- trophic ulcers or gangrene;
- circulatory disorders in the brain;
- heart attack;
Often, changes become irreversible and persist even after treatment of the disease itself.
Generalized atherosclerosis can manifest itself with a variety of symptoms, they are all non-specific and can indicate both the development of this particular pathology and any other. This is due to the fact that cholesterol plaques can affect blood vessels in any part of the body – those organs with insufficient blood supply will suffer.
If the disease has affected the coronary vessels, then such signs will indicate this:
- chest pains;
- unstable heartbeat – sometimes too frequent, then suddenly slowing down.
If a plaque in the coronary vessels comes off and completely plugs one of them, the patient may die instantly.
If the arteries responsible for the blood supply to the brain are affected, then the symptoms may be as follows:
- impaired coordination;
- headaches for no apparent reason;
- limb paralysis, partial or complete;
- impaired hearing, vision and speech.
The vessels of the lower extremities may also be affected. In this case, patients complain of the following symptoms:
- lameness variable;
- swelling of the legs;
- muscle pain;
- loss of sensation;
- ulcers and gangrene in the advanced form of the disease.
The difficulty is that generalized atherosclerosis can manifest itself with symptoms from different groups. Often it is mistaken for varicose veins in the legs or angina pectoris. A correct diagnosis can only be made with a full and thorough examination of the patient.
Who else is at risk?
In those people who move a little, the risk of developing pathology is significantly increased, this is facilitated by a deficiency of oxygen in the body. In the absence of physical activity, the blood flow slows down. Poor oxygen saturation of the body is observed, as a result, the process of fat oxidation is difficult. Therefore, they are becoming more and more.
Against the background of diabetes and excess glucose in the blood, fat metabolism is also impaired, cells are destroyed and the disease occurs. Generalized and unspecified atherosclerosis differ in that in the second case, the cause of the disease remains undetected.
Who is affected
Generalized atherosclerosis is a disease that can affect people at any age, although it usually does not pose a threat until people reach the forties or fifties.
Illness is the leading cause of death among adults. You may have heard of a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries. This happens when your blood vessels thicken or tighten, and this is actually a serious form of heart disease, in particular coronary heart disease (CHD) – called generalized arteriosclerosis.
Generalized arteriosclerosis is perhaps the most common type of atherosclerosis, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. In particular, a disease refers to a condition in which deposits of cholesterol, fat, calcium and blood elements (collectively referred to as “plaque”) accumulate in the vessels, causing them to contract.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 370 people die every year as a result of coronary heart disease, making it the most common type of heart disease and the number one cause of death for men and women.
Although conditions such as generalized atherosclerosis are more common in older people, a recent study found that plaque accumulation occurs in more than 10 percent of adults aged 29 to 51 years.
Systemic damage to the body in generalized atherosclerosis occurs in several stages. Since lipid and protein metabolism is disrupted, this leads to excessive synthesis of low density lipoproteins. They contain a lot of “bad” cholesterol, the deposition of which is usually observed on the walls of blood vessels.
High density lipoproteins, on the contrary, contain “good” cholesterol, they improve the processes of its delivery to the liver.
Localization of generalized atherosclerosis (according to ICD-10 I70) is observed in the following areas: in the brain, neck, coronary, peripheral vessels. There is a synchronous formation of foci of pathology. With damage to the coronary vessels, the situation is most difficult.
Negative changes in metabolism provoke a violation of the ratio of phospholipids, cholesterol, as well as proteins.
- The first stage – the appearance of lipid spots in the walls of blood vessels. The main provoking factors include microtrauma of the arteries and a slowdown in blood flow. Under their influence, loosening and swelling of the vascular walls occurs. Detection of lipid stains is possible only with a microscope.
- The second stage is liposclerosis. In places where fat is deposited, connective tissue and atherosclerotic plaques occur. Their main danger is that when they break, the lumen of the vessels can become clogged with fragments. Another problem is blood clots that form at the sites of attachment of plaques.
- The third stage is characterized by atherocalcinosis – pathological formations grow. They become denser, calcium salts are deposited in them. As the plaques grow, the lumen of the vessels becomes smaller, the blood supply to the organs suffers. Acute blockage of the vessel is not excluded. Due to poor blood flow to organs and tissues, complications such as stroke, heart attack, acute lower limb ischemia occur.
Generalized atherosclerosis and its consequences are part of the systemic reaction of the human body, which is expressed in the form of pathological processes of lipid metabolism disturbance. It is also called “lipid distress syndrome.”
Generalized atherosclerosis (ICD-10 code – I70) is accompanied by a variety of symptoms. This directly depends on what organs lack oxygen and nutrients.
So, lesions can be detected in:
- The vessels of the brain, neck.
- Mesenteric arteries.
- The vessels of the lower extremities.
- Coronary vessels.
- Renal vessels.
What are the symptoms of generalized atherosclerosis?
With damage to the arteries of the brain, a decrease in mental and physical performance, impaired attention, decreased memory. Sometimes sleep is disturbed, dizzy. In especially difficult situations, the likelihood of mental disorders, acute circulatory disorders in the brain, hemorrhage, thrombosis is not excluded.
With the appearance of cholesterol plaques in the vessels of the neck, signs of a violation of the blood supply to the brain are observed, which are accompanied by:
- Memory impairment.
- Violation of coordination of movement.
- Disorder of sight, hearing, speech.
Signs of aortic damage include:
- High blood pressure.
- Soreness in the chest radiating to the neck, stomach, arm, back.
- Fainting condition.
- Shortness of breath.
In the presence of a pathological process, an aneurysm occurs (protrusion of the artery wall).
The defeat of the coronary vessels is manifested:
- Chest pain.
- Impaired heart rate.
- Attacks of angina pectoris.
- Signs of heart failure.
A terrible complication of this type of ailment is sudden death.
Against the background of the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the mesenteric arteries, the digestive system is disturbed (this is manifested by constipation or diarrhea, bloating). Some time after eating, sharp pains appear. Sometimes the patient suffers from hypertension.
In the presence of atherosclerotic deposits in the arteries of the lower extremities, symptoms such as constant fatigue, weakness, coldness of the extremities, intermittent claudication (during walking, pain occurs, at rest it disappears). In the future, there is a violation of trophic skin, which is accompanied by the formation of ulcers. Great risk of gangrene.
Possible consequences of generalized atherosclerosis
The main consequence of the disease is considered to be a narrowing of the gaps of the arteries. There is insufficient blood supply to the organs, which is fraught with the following complications:
- Small focal sclerosis.
The proliferation of connective tissue occurs, all this is accompanied by dystrophic changes. If the vessel clogs a blood clot, embolus, this situation will lead to acute vascular insufficiency or heart attack. The main cause of death in generalized atherosclerosis is the rupture of aneurysm.
Therapy for this disease
Among all cardiovascular diseases, the most common is atherosclerosis. It is characterized by deposition and an increase in the inner layer of the vascular wall of atherogenic plasma apoprotein-B, which is rich in LDL. Over time, deposits are converted into connective tissue with the formation of cholesterol plaques.
Depending on the localization of cholesterol deposits, the following types of atherosclerosis are distinguished:
- Coronary, in which the aorta of the heart and the vessels that feed it are affected;
- Cerebral, associated with damage to the blood vessels of the brain;
- Flying, which usually appears in the vessels of the lower extremities;
- Penile, affecting the vessels of the penis;
- Brachiocephalic, arising from narrowing of the carotid, vertebral or subclavian arteries;
- Mesenteric, manifested in the arteries of the intestine.
Forms of atherosclerosis also vary in location. Allocate:
- Atherosclerosis of the aorta;
- Lower and upper limbs.
The most common type of atherosclerosis is aortic pathology.
Usually it manifests itself in the abdominal region and is accompanied by:
- The appearance in the cholesterol plaque of fine-grained detritus, which is formed due to the breakdown of lipids and protein, elastin and collagen fibers, as well as due to the crystallization of fatty acids;
- It is expressed in the appearance of defects in the skin and mucous membranes and the appearance of abscesses under them.
Forms of atherosclerosis can have twofold changes. With a slow narrowing of the artery and chronic circulatory failure, ischemic processes begin: stromal sclerosis, dystrophy and atrophy. In case of acute occlusion and acute blood flow insufficiency, necrotic changes occur in the form of hemorrhages, gangrene or heart attacks. They usually appear with progressive atherosclerosis of blood vessels.
- The first three stages, which are accompanied by pain in the legs when passing 1000 m, over 200 m and from 25 to 200 m, respectively;
- In the fourth stage, pain occurs when passing small distances (up to 25 m) and at rest;
- At the fifth stage, the pain is constant, there are violations of the skin (ulcers) and dead tissue.
At the fifth stage of the disease, drug therapy is no longer effective; amputation of the affected limb is often performed to save the patient’s life.
Atherosclerosis classification is carried out according to several indicators. The most extensive – at the place of localization. Phlebologists and surgeons divide the disease into:
- Hemodynamic – manifests itself in active disorders in hypertension and other vascular pathologies. General treatment consists in the appointment of thrombolytics, venotonics and anticoagulants;
- Metabolic – occurs against the background of an imbalance in carbohydrate metabolism, a violation of the autoimmune system and malnutrition;
- Mixed – is accompanied by a decrease in blood flow and a worsening of metabolic processes.
With a mixed form, there is a sharp increase in fat metabolism and an increase in blood coagulability, which provokes the growth of cholesterol deposits inside the vessel cavity. With a critical narrowing of the diameter of the artery, emergency surgical intervention is necessary.
Dr. Myasnikov A.L. created a classification according to several clinical and morphological forms. The first of them is preclinical. It is characterized by the absence of pronounced symptoms. The second – ischemic – stage is accompanied by the active formation of lipid spots, the inflammation of which leads to the formation of scars and connective tissue. At the physical level, this causes weakness, apathy, swelling.
The next stage is thrombonecrotic. It is distinguished by the formation of blood clots from lipid spots and fat deposits. The resulting blood clots and plaques, emboli lead to blockage of blood vessels. The result of this process is cardiac arrest, stroke, heart attack, malfunction of internal organs. The last stage is sclerotic. It is accompanied by the formation of scars on the affected wall of the vessel. Arteries lose trophic function, which leads to fibrosis and sclerosis.
The classification of the clinical forms of atherosclerosis also depends on the location of atherosclerotic pathologies, possible complications and the expected outcome. The division of atherosclerosis into complicated and uncomplicated depends on the type of plaque. If there is calcified deposits with signs of necrosis, thrombosis of varying severity and manifestations accompanied by clinical symptoms, then this is atherosclerosis with complications. The uncomplicated type of the disease is accompanied only by the formation of a fibrous plaque.
The diagnosis of generalized atherosclerosis is made according to the patient’s complaints and research results.
To identify signs of damage to the arteries, a general examination is performed at the time of:
- Weight reduction.
- Trophic disorders.
- The presence of wen.
Auscultation is performed, in which the doctor listens to the sound phenomena that occur in the patient’s body. The presence of systolic murmurs, a change in pulsation in the vessels can speak of pathology.
As a diagnosis of lipid distress syndrome, a biochemical blood test is prescribed. With a generalized form of the disease, high cholesterol, the presence of low density lipoproteins, as well as triglycerides are detected.
They also examine the liver, the microbiosphere of the gastrointestinal tract (make a coprogram, bacteriological examination).
Provided that the diagnosis is correctly made and therapy is started in time, it is possible to carry out an effective correction of the patient’s condition. But if the form of generalized atherosclerosis (code according to ICD-10 I70) is neglected, the disease is treated much more complicated. Therapy is carried out conservatively and surgically.
A conservative option is the use of hypocholesterolemic drugs, the action of which is aimed at lowering blood cholesterol.
Most often prescribed drugs such as:
- Sequestrants of bile acids (“Cholestyramine”, “Colestipol”).
- Nicotinic acid (“Enduracin”, “Acipimox”, “Niceritrol”).
- Statins (“Simvastatin”, “Lovastatin”, “Pravastatin”, etc.).
If generalized atherosclerosis of the lower extremities is observed, medications are prescribed that can maintain vascular tone and improve metabolism in the tissues. Dosages, duration of administration are determined by the doctor.
Thanks to non-drug therapy, the main risk factors are eliminated. This may include:
- Lifestyle adjustment.
- Normalization of weight.
- Increased physical activity.
- Getting rid of bad habits.
- Monitoring the activity of the digestive system.
- Stress avoidance.
- Therapy of concomitant ailments (hypertension, diabetes).
Generalized atherosclerosis is also treated surgically. The plaque is removed, a stent is inserted into the lumen of the vessel, the lumen of the vessel is dilated, etc. Thanks to this intervention, the risk of acute coronary syndrome or stroke is reduced.
Therapy with the help of unconventional means is allowed, but a specialist consultation is needed.
In particular, with such a disease, traditional medicine recommends consuming 3 tables a day. tablespoons of vegetable oil or drink in the morning juice of 1 potato.
An effective mixture of honey, lemon juice, vegetable oil, taken in equal proportions. The tool should be used 1 time per day (in the morning on an empty stomach) for 1 table. spoon.
Important is the observance of a balanced diet. Products that are rich in animal fats are completely excluded from the diet:
- Fat meat.
- Smoked meats.
- Canned food.
- Broths are meat.
- Sour cream.
Simple carbohydrates are also desirable to exclude (flour and sweet). The use of mayonnaise, caffeinated drinks is prohibited. No more than 4 g of salt can be used per day.
Prevention of generalized atherosclerosis will be considered compliance with simple rules. It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle. The ban includes alcohol, tobacco.
To help the body in getting rid of excess cholesterol, fats, physical activity is used. You can work out in the gym, swim, run or just walk. Enough hours per day. Sports loads significantly reduce the risk of generalized atherosclerosis, improve myocardial function, contribute to the normalization of weight.
Every year, it is necessary to check the blood to control hormones, including those belonging to the steroid group. They help increase cholesterol.
It is necessary to deal with the treatment of concomitant diseases (diabetes, hypertension). Stressful situations should be avoided. All of these preventive measures are important for people over the age of 50.
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