Atherosclerotic heart disease causes, treatment, symptoms

Atherosclerosis is a lesion of the arteries, accompanied by cholesterol deposits in the inner shells of the vessels, narrowing their lumen and disturbing the nutrition of the blood supply organ. Atherosclerosis of the blood vessels of the heart is manifested mainly by attacks of angina pectoris. It leads to the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction, cardiosclerosis, and vascular aneurysm. Atherosclerosis can lead to disability and premature death.

With atherosclerosis, arteries of medium and large caliber, elastic (large arteries, aorta) and muscular-elastic (mixed: carotid, arteries of the brain and heart) types are affected. Therefore, atherosclerosis is the most common cause of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, cerebral stroke, circulatory disorders of the lower extremities, abdominal aorta, mesenteric and renal arteries.

In recent years, the incidence of atherosclerosis has become rampant, outstripping at the risk of developing disability, disability and mortality such causes as injuries, infectious and oncological diseases. With the highest frequency, atherosclerosis affects men older than 45-50 years (3-4 times more often than women), but occurs in patients of a younger age.

Classification

As with most diseases, there are several classifications for atherosclerosis. The World Health Organization (WHO) proposes to separate this disease by origin and localization.

By origin, the following types of atherosclerosis can be distinguished:

  1. Hemodynamic – this type occurs with various diseases of the blood vessels: thrombophlebitis, varicose veins. Arterial hypertension also contributes to its appearance. In the treatment of these pathologies, atherosclerosis lends itself to a good correction.
  2. Metabolic – the cause of this atherosclerosis is an excessive amount of cholesterol in the blood with an unbalanced diet, the use of a large amount of fried, fatty foods, as well as an imbalance in some vitamins and minerals. The same type of pathology develops with some autoimmune diseases. The treatment of atherosclerosis in this case is a certain difficulty, since it is not always amenable to adjustment.
  3. Mixed – this species is most common. It is due to the fact that the formation of blood clots provokes a metabolic disorder, and poor metabolism, in turn, affects blood coagulation. That is, in this case, both factors influence and reinforce each other. At an early stage of atherosclerotic vascular disease, the disease responds well to treatment, but in advanced cases, even surgical intervention may be necessary.

Types of atherosclerosis in localization:

  • Aortic atherosclerosis – in this case, the largest blood vessel of the human body is affected;
  • Coronary vessels – it is dangerous for the development of complications such as angina pectoris and myocardial infarction, since the nutrition of the heart itself suffers;
  • Vascular of the brain – brain nutrition is disturbed, which can cause neurological symptoms, as well as lead to the formation of strokes. The treatment of atherosclerosis of this type should be started as early as possible;
  • Vessels of the lower extremities – is most common and affects the large and medium arteries of the legs;
  • Vascular of the liver and gall bladder – is not so common, however, in order to avoid the development of complications it also requires treatment;
  • Renal vessels – as the name suggests, the vessels of the kidneys are affected. Without timely treatment, atherosclerosis of the vessels of the kidneys can lead to chronic renal failure.

The clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis are most dependent on its localization.

There is also a classification of atherosclerosis according to the periods of its development, proposed by the phlebologist Myasnikov:

  1. 1 period – preclinical. During this period, there are no manifestations of the disease yet. The determination of atherosclerosis is possible only in the case of a targeted search using special diagnostic methods, which will be discussed later;
  2. 2 period – ischemic. In this period, the walls of the arteries at the sites of fat deposition begin to become inflamed and swell, after which a scar from the connective tissue is formed. The lumen of the vessel narrows, blood flow and organ nutrition are disrupted. The classic symptoms of atherosclerosis appear. They are most pronounced if the process affects the coronary or cerebral arteries.
  3. 3 period – thrombonecrotic. In places where an atherosclerotic plaque has formed, blood clots, i.e. blood clots, also begin to appear. They are dangerous because they can come off and clog smaller vessels in diameter, causing necrosis of tissues or organs. At this stage, the treatment of atherosclerosis should be started immediately.
  4. 4 period – sclerotic. The affected part of the artery is replaced by a scar, which reduces its elasticity and does not allow to cope with the blood flow.

Symptoms and development process

With atherosclerosis, systemic damage to the arteries occurs as a result of lipid and protein metabolism disorders in the walls of blood vessels. Metabolic disorders are characterized by a change in the ratio between cholesterol, phospholipids and proteins, as well as excessive formation of β-lipoproteins.

It is believed that in its development atherosclerosis goes through several stages:

I stage – lipid (or fat) stain. For the deposition of fats in the vascular wall, an essential role is played by microdamage to the walls of the arteries and local slowdown of blood flow. Areas of vascular branching are most susceptible to atherosclerosis. The vascular wall loosens and swells. Enzymes of the arterial wall tend to dissolve lipids and protect its integrity. When the protective mechanisms are depleted, complex complexes of compounds are formed in these areas, consisting of lipids (mainly cholesterol), proteins, and they are deposited in the intima (inner shell) of the arteries. The duration of the lipid spot stage is different. Such grease spots are visible only under a microscope, they can be found even in infants.

Stage II – liposclerosis. It is characterized by growth in areas of fatty deposits of young connective tissue. Gradually, atherosclerotic (or atheromatous) plaque is formed, consisting of fats and connective tissue fibers. At this stage, the atherosclerotic plaques are still liquid and may be subjected to dissolution. On the other hand, they are dangerous, because their loose surface can rupture, and fragments of plaques can clog the lumen of the arteries. The vessel wall at the site of attachment of the atheromatous plaque loses its elasticity, cracks and ulcerates, leading to the formation of blood clots, which are also a source of potential danger.

Stage III – atherocalcinosis. Further formation of the plaque is associated with its compaction and the deposition of calcium salts in it. Atherosclerotic plaque can behave stably or gradually grow, deforming and narrowing the lumen of the artery, causing a progressive chronic violation of the blood supply to the organ affected by the artery. In this case, there is a high probability of acute blockage (occlusion) of the lumen of the vessel with a thrombus or fragments of a decaying atherosclerotic plaque with the development of a site of heart attack (necrosis) or gangrene in the blood supply to the limb artery or organ.

This point of view on the mechanism of development of atherosclerosis is not the only one. There are opinions that infectious agents (herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, chlamydial infection, etc.), hereditary diseases accompanied by increased cholesterol, mutations of vascular wall cells, etc. play a role in the development of atherosclerosis.

At this stage, the so-called lipid (fat) spots form on the walls of the vessels. Their formation occurs in those places where the wall is injured for some reason and the blood flow is slowed down. Most often this occurs in the places of branching of blood vessels. The wall swells and loosens. Nevertheless, the vessel seeks to defend and dissolve lipids, however, over time, its protective properties weaken.

At this stage of development of atherosclerosis, the formation of atherosclerotic plaque occurs, which is a complex of fats and connective tissue. The plaque itself is still quite soft and can be dissolved. However, this can play a detriment: a soft plaque can tear to pieces and, together with a blood stream, enter small vessels.

At the next stage of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, plaque compaction and calcification occurs. It becomes hard, narrows the lumen of the vessel and can completely clog it, which causes necrosis of tissues that feed on the damaged artery.

This is not the only mechanism for the development of atherosclerosis, considered by doctors and researchers. It is believed that the appearance and development of the disease is affected by some viruses and infections, as well as hereditary mutations in which the walls of the arteries are damaged, which contributes to the appearance of lipid spots in such places. This theory is also supported by the fact that lipid spots can sometimes be found in children who hardly abuse fatty foods.

In any case, we can conclude that the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is not fully understood and quite complicated. For the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, a combination of very many factors is necessary.

The process of developing atherosclerotic heart disease

Atherosclerotic heart disease is characterized as a gradual change in the coronary arteries, the end result of which is their occlusion. This process is sluggish, in which the disease progresses quite slowly. However, trophic heart in this situation is still depressed. This invariably leads to a violation of the functions of the heart muscle.

Regardless of the lesion sites, the mechanism of development of atherosclerosis does not change. The appearance of cholesterol deposits is noted in childhood. At the very beginning, they do not bring significant harm to the human body, and they do not pose a threat to life. However, the trigger for subsequent pathologies can be considered neglected.

An increase in cholesterol deposits and their distribution throughout the vascular system is noted with age. In some cases, the process is very slow. Sometimes throughout life there are no serious pathologies, no heart diseases, or functional disorders of the cardiovascular system.

The accumulation of this substance in combination with damaging factors begin to affect the vascular wall in the most negative way. As a result, its intense destruction occurs.

Treatment of atherosclerotic disease involves several directions. One of them is the normalization of lipid metabolism without the use of medications. In this case, we are talking about getting rid of excess weight, a special diet aimed at improving cardiac activity and lifestyle changes, including giving up bad habits.

The program necessarily includes physical exercise or moderate exercise, and also adjusts the daily regimen.

Drug therapy is aimed at correcting the general condition, which is carried out taking into account the elimination of the factors that caused atherosclerosis. Most often, they are hypertension or various forms of diabetes.

To prevent the progression of atherosclerotic heart disease, statin drugs are prescribed. A product intended for oral use under the name “Tovacard” shows good effectiveness. During treatment, monitoring of the liver should be carried out.

In such cases, drugs of the salicylate group are prescribed.

The only option for stopping the manifestations at later stages is coronary artery bypass grafting. Surgery can be attributed to radical measures, which, unfortunately, do not prevent the progression of the disease and do not stop the formation of plaques. In the future, after the operation, it will be necessary to adhere to a diet and take medications.

There are 5 stages:

  1. Dolipid. The conditions for the formation of atherosclerotic plaque are created: the vascular wall is injured. Changes in blood composition occur: the concentration of bad cholesterol increases. It ends when the body’s enzymes no longer have time to cleanse the artery wall from “plaque”.
  2. Lipoidosis The second stage of atherosclerosis is the beginning of the formation of atheromatous plaque. Cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) begin to adhere to the artery wall, forming fatty streaks, spots. The plaque is so small that it does not obstruct blood flow.
  3. Liposclerosis The focus of deposition sprouts connective tissue. The size of the atherosclerotic plaque is increasing.
  4. Atherosis The destruction of body fat begins. From the decay products, a dense mass is formed that deforms the artery wall. At this point, the cholesterol plaque reaches a large size, interferes with the normal blood supply to the heart. Often the surface of the lesion begins to ulcerate, which provokes thrombosis.
  5. Atherocalcinosis. In the thickness of the plaques, calcium salts are deposited. In density, the formation resembles a stone. The risk of thrombosis increases.

The development of atherosclerotic changes is very slow. On average, at least 20-30 years elapse from the onset of pathological changes in the vessels to the onset of the negative effects of atherosclerosis. A slow course causes the symptoms to increase imperceptibly. And this is the first reason why atherosclerosis changes in blood vessels are dangerous.

For a long time, the patient does not notice the changes occurring with him and the initial signs of atherosclerosis until the first vascular catastrophe occurs:

  • ischemia of organs (brain, heart, kidneys and others);
  • hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke;
  • formation and rupture of aneurysm.

To avoid this, it is important to know about the first signs of atherosclerosis and understand what exactly leads to the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. This will allow you to assess the risks and suspect vascular problems before the changes become irreversible or life-threatening.

The main factors in the development of atherosclerosis are divided into two groups:

  1. Independent of the person, his environment, lifestyle. According to statistics, the main factor predisposing to the occurrence of cholesterol deposits is age. The older the person, the higher the risk of getting sick. In medicine, there are no known cases when atherosclerosis was detected in children, although theoretically and in practice there are cases of detection in large arteries in adolescents and children of the initial stage of pathology. It is they who have a second fatal factor – a hereditary predisposition. In such patients, the causes of atherosclerosis most often consist in metabolic disorders, in which cholesterol is produced in the body in excessive quantities.
  2. Dependent on the person, his environment and lifestyle. First of all, this is an unhealthy diet that contains a lot of animal fats. Complicates the situation with cholesterol deposits, smoking and alcohol, limited physical activity. In the presence of these factors, atherosclerosis affects the walls of the vessels first, and the body tries to restore them by forming a fatty film consisting of cholesterol.

Atherosclerosis Risk Factors

Factors affecting the development of atherosclerosis are divided into three groups: fatal, removable and potentially removable.

Fatal factors include those that cannot be ruled out through volitional or medical exposure. These include:

  • Age. With age, the risk of developing atherosclerosis increases. Atherosclerotic changes in blood vessels to one degree or another are observed in all people after 40-50 years.
  • Floor. In men, the development of atherosclerosis occurs ten years earlier and exceeds the incidence rate of atherosclerosis among women by 4 times. After 50-55 years, the incidence of atherosclerosis among women and men is evened out. This is due to a decrease in estrogen production and their protective function in women during menopause.
  • Burdened family heredity. Atherosclerosis often develops in patients whose relatives suffer from this disease. It is proved that hereditary atherosclerosis contributes to the early (up to 50 years) development of the disease, while after 50 years, genetic factors do not have a leading role in its development.

The eliminated factors of atherosclerosis are those that can be excluded by the person himself by changing the usual way of life. These include:

  • Smoking. Its effect on the development of atherosclerosis is explained by the negative effects of nicotine and tar on blood vessels. Long-term smoking several times increases the risk of hyperlipidemia, arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease.
  • Unbalanced diet. Eating large amounts of animal fats accelerates the development of atherosclerotic vascular changes.
  • Lack of exercise. Maintaining a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the violation of fat metabolism and the development of obesity, diabetes mellitus, vascular atherosclerosis.

Potentially and partially removable risk factors include those chronic disorders and diseases that can be corrected through the prescribed treatment. They include:

  • Arterial hypertension. Against the background of increased blood pressure, conditions are created for increased impregnation of the vascular wall with fats, which contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. On the other hand, a decrease in the elasticity of arteries in atherosclerosis helps to maintain high blood pressure.
  • Dyslipidemia. Violation of fat metabolism in the body, manifested by an increased content of cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins, plays a leading role in the development of atherosclerosis.
  • Obesity and diabetes. They increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis 5-7 times. This is due to a violation of fat metabolism, which underlies these diseases and is the trigger mechanism for atherosclerotic vascular lesions.
  • Infections and intoxication. Infectious and toxic agents have a damaging effect on the vascular walls, contributing to their atherosclerotic changes.

Knowledge of the factors contributing to the development of atherosclerosis is especially important for its prevention, since the influence of disposable and potentially removable circumstances can be weakened or completely eliminated. Elimination of adverse factors can significantly slow down and facilitate the development of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic disorder that develops over several decades. When talking about the cause of the pathology, the term “polyetiological disease” is usually used. This means that several factors are responsible for the development of the disease. Damaging effects on the artery wall are:

  • smoking;
  • high blood pressure;
  • high cholesterol, LDL;
  • diabetes;
  • addiction to alcohol.

With atherosclerosis of the heart, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing a disease:

  • age. Most often, this pathology affects older people;
  • floor. Men have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, as well as other diseases associated with atherosclerosis;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • excess weight;
  • regular severe stress;
  • A diet that is rich in saturated fat is low in fiber.

Atherosclerosis of the heart: treatment, causes and symptoms of the disease

  • genetic predisposition;
  • diabetes;
  • arterial hypertension (AH);
  • liver disease;
  • hormonal disorders;
  • infectious diseases;
  • inflammatory processes;
  • age-related changes in the body.
  • obesity;
  • smoking, alcohol;
  • binge eating;
  • low motor activity;
  • harmful environmental conditions;
  • consequences of electromagnetic radiation;
  • psychological stress;
  • the use of low-quality water;
  • excess salt.

Atherosclerotic heart disease is a pathology that is associated with a change in the functioning of the coronary artery.

Atherosclerosis is the period when the main blood vessel becomes denser, which makes it difficult to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the internal organs.

In the event that you do not resort to timely treatment, a malfunction in the heart can occur, which will lead to unpleasant consequences. Atherosclerosis combines all cardiac pathologies, the cause of which is a violation of blood flow and is most often manifested in elderly people over 50 years old. Many doctors call this disease the first prerequisite for aging.

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Causes

One of the predisposing factors for the development of heart disease can be called genetic factors, which are a prerequisite for early vascular damage. But do not forget about the provoking factors that can lead to disruption of the heart muscle.

The indirect causes of heart disease such as atherosclerosis include the following: • bad habits; • lack of movement; • heavy load on the heart; • circulatory disorders of the abdominal aorta; • violation of the metabolic process; • excess weight; • malnutrition.

In the event that a person does not observe the correct regime of the day, he has a large number of cholesterol plaques formed. Many doctors say that acute atherosclerosis cannot occur without hypercholesterolemia. Recently, it was possible to prove that the disease occurs due to the penetration of infection into the body.

Often the cause of its appearance can be called the accumulation of cholesterol plaques in the vessels, which over a long time increase in number if a person does not eat properly. At the initial stage of the disease, the vessel is covered with a white-yellow film, which consists of harmful substances.

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As practice shows, most often this disease appears in men. In women, acute atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries can also occur, but in practice this rarely happens.

In the stronger sex, the disease occurs precisely on the heart and, as a rule, appears 10 years earlier. If a woman has a peak of atherosclerosis – it’s 60 years old, then a man has 50.

But it can occur by 55-60 years of the patient due to changes in hormonal levels.

Symptoms

Like any other pathology, atherosclerosis in most cases at the initial stage is asymptomatic, and therefore it is difficult to suspect a disease. Doctors distinguish two periods during the illness. The first is characterized by the absence of symptoms, when the disease can be detected only after the results of the tests.

The second period indicates signs of aortic atherosclerosis. Most often, the disease affects the abdominal aorta.

Signs of this diagnosis in the later stages include the following: • increased heart rate; • high blood pressure; • numbness of limbs; • slurred speech; • shortness of breath, increasing in a horizontal position; • burning pain in the left side of the sternum, extending to the neck and arm; • weakness.

All these signs of the disease increase with physical exertion and stressful situations. The heart begins to beat hard and shortness of breath appears even after a quick step. When a person is calm, they appear minimally.

If any of these symptoms occur, the patient should consult a cardiologist or therapist to diagnose atherosclerosis or other heart disease. One of the serious conditions for the patient can be called sudden death syndrome. Fact! It is worth knowing that this is one of the dangerous diseases for an elderly person.

And more than once, cases were diagnosed when, after the first signs of the disease, the patient suddenly died within an hour. Acute atherosclerosis of the heart, many doctors call abdominal toad due to the fact that the distinctive symptom of the disease is acute pain behind the sternum, which begins unexpectedly.

Often, heart disease occurs with damage to the abdominal aorta. In this case, additional signs of the disease appear: a feeling of heaviness, an acute spasm in the stomach, nausea, belching, heartburn. In order not to provoke complications, you must consult a doctor. In case of damage to the abdominal aorta, the patient requires treatment and surgery.

Diagnostics

In order to determine the exact disease, the doctor may prescribe different methods for diagnosis. The doctor should detect the presence of coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, or other diseases. Mandatory diagnostic measures include the following: • ECG; • blood test; • bicycle ergometry; • echocardiography.

Thanks to these diagnostic methods, you can identify the type of disease and prescribe a comprehensive treatment. You can find a large-focal or small-focal form, in which sclerosis does not exceed 2 millimeters.

Treatment

The treatment method for atherosclerotic heart disease and atherosclerosis of the aorta should be selected only by a doctor, depending on the disease and the severity of symptoms. The doctor prescribes different methods for healing.

The basis of treatment should be a conservative and surgical technique, as well as restoration of lipid volume. Drug therapy is prescribed in order not to provoke the development of the disease and eliminate its symptoms.

The basis of such treatment are drugs of the following groups: • satin; • salicylates, which must be taken for life; • cholesterol lowering drugs. If such a disease is detected, the patient should take medication for life and follow a diet so as not to provoke repeated relapses.

It is worth knowing that thanks to this method, it is possible to get rid of atherosclerotic plaques, but it cannot prevent the further development of the disease. With provoking factors, acute atherosclerosis will reappear. It is equally important during the disease period to take time of physical activity and make sure that the heart does not overstrain.

Every day you need to perform simple movements, so that each vessel becomes elastic and mobile again. It is necessary to move as much as possible, to walk in the fresh air.

Advice! Skating, climbing, jumping rope and fencing give a positive result. The patient should begin to eat right and fill his diet with foods enriched with vitamins.

In the event that you refuse treatment, atherosclerosis can develop into complications. With pathologies, the main vessel is damaged. One of the unpleasant consequences can be called a complete cardiac arrest.

Other complications of atherosclerosis include the following: • myocardial infarction; • ischemia; • angina pectoris; • heart rhythm disturbance; • cardiosclerosis; • heart failure. All these conditions are very dangerous for humans, especially for the elderly.

With advanced atherosclerosis, the patient’s death occurs instantly. The primary prevention of the disease is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and the correct daily routine. The patient should not allow cholesterol plaques to appear.

You need to be attentive to your health and treat all existing diseases. Any person after 50 years should visit a cardiologist twice a year and undergo the necessary examinations.

Atherosclerosis is a dangerous disease that can occur against a background of various causes. In any case, the heart and the main blood vessel suffer. Wellness therapy should be prescribed only by a doctor.

causes of atherosclerosis of the heart

lack of sufficient physical activity;

• any form of diabetes.

Separate blood elements, including lipoproteins, the main component of which is cholesterol, fall at the rupture site. The formation of connective tissue.

Further, active proliferation of muscle tissue is noted. As a result of enzymatic action, with the participation of sarcophagi, protein compounds are destroyed, and cholesterol remains and accumulates. This substance takes the place of the destroyed cell, and a capsule of connective tissue gradually forms around it. Thus, a plaque forms on the vascular wall.

Cicatricial formations result from exposure to calcium salts. This process leads to a narrowing of the affected vessel, which often ends with its complete blockage. If the place of occurrence of changes is the coronary vessels, then the tissues of the heart muscle lack oxygen and lack nutrients. The development of atherosclerotic heart disease begins.

The symptoms of atherosclerotic manifestations should be considered separately.

Modern science does not have a single opinion on the exact causes of the occurrence and manifestation of pathology, however, there are many indirect reasons that can affect the development of cardiac atherosclerosis. Such factors of atherosclerotic heart disease include:

  • sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise);
  • vascular disease, heart disease, arterial hypertension;
  • hormonal imbalance (observed in women with menopause);
  • age (with increasing age, the risk of heart disease increases proportionally);
  • errors in nutrition (an abundance of fatty foods), obesity;
  • bad habits (tobacco, alcohol);
  • prolonged chronic stress;
  • hereditary predisposition to heart disease.

Symptoms of atherosclerotic heart disease

As a result of a violation of protein-lipid metabolism in the body, cholesterol particles appear in the bloodstream in a free form. These formations settle on the walls of blood vessels, eventually becoming covered with connective tissue. Thus, atheromatous (cholesterol) plaques are formed in the lumen of blood vessels.

Treatment

The clinical picture of atherosclerosis depends on the location, the degree of vascular damage, the compensatory capabilities of the body and some other factors:

  • If the vessels supplying the brain are affected, symptoms of oxygen starvation of the brain occur: frequent headaches, dizziness, there may be nausea and even vomiting, which does not bring relief to the patient. Memory decreases, a person quickly gets tired, becomes lethargic and irritable. A feeling of numbness in the fingers or limbs may occur. The development of ischemic stroke can become a complication of atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels: the lumen of the vessel is completely blocked, the blood cannot overcome the obstacle, and the brain tissue dies. This is an extremely dangerous condition requiring immediate medical attention.
  • When the aorta is damaged in its initial sections, as well as the vessels that feed the heart, the symptoms resemble angina pectoris. There is a strong pressing pain behind the sternum, which can be given under the shoulder blade, in the left arm, neck, and even in the upper abdomen. Unlike angina pain, it can last several hours. Further development of atherosclerosis affects the performance of the heart.
  • Since the outflow of blood from it is difficult when the aorta is damaged, the left ventricle is full of blood, which gradually affects its condition: it stretches, its walls thicken, because the muscle has to exert great efforts to push blood through the obstacle. This can be seen in the diagnosis. In this case, it is important in time how to cure atherosclerosis and prevent the development of complications.
  • Symptoms of atherosclerosis of the vessels of the abdominal cavity are characteristic of digestive disorders. Often, a few hours after eating, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting appear. The pain can last several hours, usually localized in the navel or upper abdomen. May be accompanied by bloating, constipation. Later, diarrhea and vomiting of undigested food appear. In advanced cases, necrosis of some parts of the intestine develops.
  • Damage to the renal arteries is manifested by an increase in blood pressure, as well as characteristic changes in the analysis of urine. If one kidney suffers, the disease develops slowly, if two, malignant arterial hypertension appears, which is dangerous with serious complications.
  • Signs of atherosclerosis of the vessels of the lower extremities do not appear immediately, but only with the development of the disease. First of all, it is a pain in the legs. At first it appears only if a person travels a long distance, but the more the lumen of the artery closes, the faster the pain appears. The patient is forced to stop frequently to give his feet rest. In addition to pain, the hair on the legs can fall out and grow poorly, the nail plate thinning. What is dangerous atherosclerosis of the lower extremities? Without treatment, trophic ulcers appear on the legs, necrosis, can reach gangrene.

Atherosclerosis has no specific symptoms. The clinical manifestations of the pathology are always complex and directly depend on which organs suffered from insufficient blood supply.

With damage to the cerebral arteries, the following symptoms occur:

  • deterioration of short-term memory – the patient remembers what happened in the distant past, but forgets the events that took place a few minutes ago;
  • sleep disturbances – the patient has problems falling asleep, suffers from insomnia, wakes up several times at night;
  • neurological disorders – mood swings, exacerbation of character traits, irritability combined with regular headaches, which can not be removed with conventional painkillers.

With cerebral atherosclerosis, the symptoms increase gradually, which is why they are not always perceived as something threatening. At the final stage, they acquire especially sharp features: the patient suffers from a constant feeling of fatigue, cannot lead his former lifestyle and serve himself because of persistent memory impairments. There is a loss of interest in life, apathy. Most people suffering from the disease become depressed.

With damage to the coronary arteries, the symptoms can resemble the manifestations of heart and lung diseases, since against its background occurs:

  • shortness of breath, shortness of breath;
  • general weakness and rapid fatigue during physical exertion;
  • dull pain behind the sternum;
  • heart rhythm disturbances like angina pectoris.

Often, taking over-the-counter heart medications (Validol, Nitroglycerin, Corvalol) with these symptoms does not bring relief.

Symptomatic lesions of the abdominal aorta resemble tumor processes in the organs of the abdominal cavity and pelvis. In this case, patients complain of the following discomfort:

  • paroxysmal abdominal pains of unclear localization that are not associated with food intake and stool;
  • bloating, which is not associated with the intake of fiber-rich foods;
  • frequent tension of the anterior abdominal wall.

As in the case of damage to other vessels, standard drugs (antispasmodics, analgesics, enterosorbents, antifoam agents and others) do not have the desired effect.

Atherosclerosis of the renal arteries is accompanied by nonspecific symptoms. With the defeat of this group of vessels, patients suffer from severe forms of arterial hypertension. Against this background, dull lower back pains are observed, which persist during activity and at rest.

When lesions of the arteries in the lower extremities, patients complain of pain and heaviness in the legs, which at the initial stage of the disease subside at rest. Along with this, the quality of the skin changes: it becomes pale and dry in the area below the site of narrowing of the vessel. If treatment for atherosclerosis is not carried out, trophic ulcers and areas of necrosis are formed on the limbs closer to the foot, which can then develop into gangrene. Similar symptoms are observed with damage to the arteries of the hands.

It is almost impossible to differentiate the disease independently due to the non-specificity of the symptoms. Moreover, narrow specialists also cannot always immediately suspect this pathology, since in clinical practice only one group of arteries is extremely damaged: a combination of symptoms can be extremely atypical and unexpected, which will complicate the diagnosis.

With atherosclerosis, the thoracic and abdominal aorta, coronary, mesenteric, renal vessels, as well as arteries of the lower extremities and brain are more often affected. In the development of atherosclerosis, there are distinguished preclinical (asymptomatic) and clinical periods. In the asymptomatic period, an increased content of β-lipoproteins or cholesterol is detected in the blood in the absence of symptoms of the disease. Clinically, atherosclerosis begins to manifest itself when there is a narrowing of the arterial lumen by 50% or more. During the clinical period, three stages are distinguished: ischemic, thrombonecrotic and fibrous.

In the stage of ischemia, a lack of blood supply to one organ or another develops (for example, myocardial ischemia due to coronary atherosclerosis manifests itself as angina pectoris). In the thrombonecrotic stage, thrombosis of the altered arteries joins (thus, the course of coronary atherosclerosis can be complicated by myocardial infarction). At the stage of fibrotic changes, there is an overgrowth of connective tissue in poorly supplied organs (for example, atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries leads to the development of atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis).

The clinical symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the type of affected arteries. The manifestation of coronary atherosclerosis is angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and cardiosclerosis, which successively reflect the stages of heart circulatory failure.

The course of aortic atherosclerosis is asymptomatic for a long and long time, even in severe forms. Clinically, atherosclerosis of the thoracic aorta is manifested by aortalgia – pressing or burning pains behind the sternum, radiating to the arms, back, neck, and upper abdomen. Unlike pain in angina pectoris, aortalgia can last for several hours and days, periodically weakening or intensifying. Reducing the elasticity of the walls of the aorta causes increased heart function, leading to left ventricular myocardial hypertrophy.

Atherosclerotic lesion of the abdominal aorta is manifested by pain in the abdomen of various localization, flatulence, constipation. With atherosclerosis of the abdominal aortic bifurcation, numbness and cooling of the legs, swelling and hyperemia of the feet, necrosis and ulcers of the toes, alternating claudication are observed.

Manifestations of atherosclerosis of mesenteric arteries are attacks of “abdominal toad” and a violation of digestive function due to insufficient blood supply to the intestines. Patients experience severe pain several hours after eating. The pains are localized in the navel or upper abdomen. The duration of a pain attack is from several minutes to 1-3 hours, sometimes the pain syndrome is stopped by taking nitroglycerin. Bloating, belching, constipation, palpitations, increased blood pressure appear. Fetid diarrhea with fragments of undigested food and undigested fat later join.

Atherosclerosis of the renal arteries leads to the development of vasorenal symptomatic arterial hypertension. In the urine, red blood cells, protein, and cylinders are determined. With unilateral atherosclerotic lesions of the arteries, slow progression of hypertension is observed, accompanied by persistent changes in the urine and persistently high numbers of blood pressure. Bilateral damage to the renal arteries causes malignant arterial hypertension.

With atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, there is a decrease in memory, mental and physical performance, attention, intelligence, dizziness, and sleep disturbances. In cases of severe atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, the patient’s behavior and psyche change. Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the brain can be complicated by acute disturbance of cerebral circulation, thrombosis, hemorrhage.

The manifestations of atherosclerosis obliterans of the arteries of the lower extremities are weakness and pain in the calf muscles of the lower leg, numbness and chilliness of the legs. The development of the syndrome of “intermittent claudication” is characteristic (pains in the calf muscles occur when walking and subside at rest). Cooling, pallor of limbs, trophic disturbances (peeling and dry skin, development of trophic ulcers and dry gangrene) are noted.

Complications of Atherosclerosis

Vascular insufficiencies due to malnutrition and gas exchange in the tissues of internal organs: such complications of atherosclerosis can be represented by dystrophic and necrotic changes that inevitably affect the functionality of organs and systems. With brain damage, the consequences of such processes can be progressive dementia, loss of vision, hearing, memory and deep disability.

Separation of cholesterol plaques or the formation of blood clots with subsequent blockage of blood vessels: such complications of atherosclerosis arise rapidly and have a catastrophic character (not without reason in medicine there are the terms “brain disaster” and “heart disaster”). As a result of such processes, myocardial infarction and acute ischemic stroke develop. The result is paralysis and the loss of many familiar functions. More than 70% die in the first year after plaque separation.

Thinning of the vessel wall, followed by its protrusion outward – the development of aneurysm: this complication can develop for a long time and go unnoticed. Under stress, physical and emotional overstrain, which are often accompanied by jumps in blood pressure, the artery wall may burst. Rupture of the aneurysm leads to profuse internal bleeding, and in 80% of cases it is fatal.

The only way to avoid such dangerous consequences of the disease is to consult a doctor if symptoms appear that may indicate vascular atherosclerosis. After making a diagnosis, it is important to strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations, maintain a healthy lifestyle and take medications prescribed by a specialist. Under these conditions, the patient can live to a very old age and maintain a high quality of life.

The most dangerous complication of atherosclerosis of the heart is myocardial infarction. In addition, with regular inadequate blood circulation, the heart muscle weakens. She can not cope with the existing load, heart failure develops.

An important place in the prevention of atherosclerosis is occupied by routine blood tests. It is recommended that you begin to control the level of triglycerides from childhood. The first analysis should be done to the child by 9-11 years, then by 17-21 years. Adults need to be screened every 4-6 years.

Complications of atherosclerosis are chronic or acute vascular insufficiency of the blood supply organ. The development of chronic vascular insufficiency is associated with a gradual narrowing (stenosis) of the lumen of the artery with atherosclerotic changes – stenotic atherosclerosis. Chronic insufficiency of the blood supply to the organ or its part leads to ischemia, hypoxia, dystrophic and atrophic changes, proliferation of connective tissue and the development of small focal sclerosis.

The occurrence of acute vascular insufficiency leads to acute blockage of blood vessels by a thrombus or embolus, which is manifested by the clinic of acute ischemia and heart attack. In some cases, a rupture of an artery aneurysm with a fatal outcome can occur.

All organs and tissues in the human body must receive a sufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen, which blood supplies them. Atherosclerotic disease, which does not allow blood to freely pass through the affected vessels, without treatment over time leads to serious complications:

  1. Poor brain nutrition can be manifested by transient ischemic attacks, and with complete blockage of the vessel – the development of ischemic stroke. At the same time, part of the brain dies, which leads to serious disabilities, and without timely assistance – to death.
  2. Serious complications of atherosclerosis, such as severe attacks of angina pectoris, as well as myocardial infarction, caused by complete blockage of the lumen of the coronary arteries, can occur on the part of the heart.
  3. Atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels can be destroyed and spread through the body with a blood stream. Once in smaller arteries, they cannot pass through them, clog the lumen and cause the death of tissues that were fed from this vessel. The formation of a blood clot in a damaged vessel may also end there.
  4. Another extremely dangerous consequence of atherosclerosis is aortic aneurysm. Aneurysm is a kind of protrusion of the vessel wall, which at any time, even from a little physical exertion, can burst, since the wall in such a place is very thin.
  5. In the late stages of development of atherosclerosis of the aorta, foci of intestinal necrosis may appear in the abdominal region.
  6. Pathology of the renal arteries can lead to the development of acute or chronic renal failure.
  7. Atherosclerosis of the vessels of the lower extremities without treatment ends with gangrene and amputation of the limb.
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Diagnosis of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerotic disease is treated by a cardiologist. To determine the severity of the pathological process, the following methods are used:

  • Blood chemistry. Assessment of the functional state of the body.
  • Lipidogram. The study of disorders of fat metabolism.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). Determination of the frequency and rhythm of heart rate.
  • Roentgenogram. Visualization of the state of the bronchopulmonary system.
  • Echocardiography (echocardiography). Ultrasound examination of heart structures.
  • Coronarography Study of patency, width and movement of blood flow through the heart vessels.

Additionally, such examinations are carried out:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan. Cardiac examination.
  • Angiography. The study of the blood circulation of the body.
  • Ultrasound of the lower extremities. Identification of problems with blood vessels in the legs.
  • Holter daily monitoring. Heart rate tracking.
  • Stress test The study of blood circulation and heart rate during exercise.
  • Glucose tolerance test. Evaluation of the pancreas.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Layered scan of the heart.
  • Echodoplercardiography. Ultrasound examination of blood flow in the chambers of the heart.

Diagnosis of heart disease is carried out by collecting an anamnesis from the words of the patient and a direct examination by a doctor.

The history of the initial diagnosis of atherosclerosis describes patient complaints of malaise, the onset of disease symptoms: signs of cardiac ischemia, symptoms of cerebrovascular accident, chest pain (chest toad), anxiety, sleep disturbance, intermittent claudication (vascular insufficiency of the lower extremities) )

The following actions of the doctor will be the examination of the patient:

  • assessment of the general condition;
  • listening to heart rhythms (systological murmur in the aortic focus);
  • palpation of all arteries available for this manipulation (iliac, popliteal, tibia, femoral, carotid arteries, central aorta);
  • blood pressure measurement (blood pressure);
  • primary ECG.

For a final diagnosis, as well as to understand how to treat vascular atherosclerosis, detailed studies will help, which include:

  1. General clinical blood test.
  2. Blood chemistry.
  3. Blood test for cholesterol concentration, lipid balance.
  4. Chest X-ray.
  5. Ultrasound of the heart and internal organs.
  6. Ultrasound of arteries (dopplerography / duplex / triplex arterial scanning).
  7. Determination of the elasticity of the walls of the arteries (sphygmography).

Treatment

Diagnosis begins with an examination by a doctor. In the presence of risk factors, symptoms, heart murmur, the patient is sent to undergo a more thorough examination. It may include:

  • biochemical blood test with a detailed lipid profile. This analysis gives the doctor information about the functioning of internal organs, as well as the content of cholesterol and its fractions;
  • electrocardiogram (ECG). Recording electrical impulses of the heart allows us to evaluate the conductivity of the heart muscle. Atherosclerosis of the heart violates the nutrition of the myocardium, which is reflected in the electrocardiogram;
  • stress test. At the onset of the disease, symptoms, as well as changes in cardiac activity, are recorded only after exertion. Therefore, recording a cardiogram can be combined with riding a stationary bike, running on a treadmill, or other type of physical activity. Option stress test – the introduction of drugs that simulate physical activity;
  • angiogram – a method of obtaining images of heart vessels. The patient is injected intravenously with paint that makes the arteries clearly visible on x-ray, MRI, CT;
  • echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) – allows you to assess the condition of the heart muscle, valves, chambers. Using ultrasound, you can measure blood flow velocity, as well as other characteristics. For such a detailed examination, called dopplerography, a special sensor is required.

Diagnosis of the disease presents certain difficulties, since there may be no signs of atherosclerosis for a long time. What examinations and analyzes are carried out if there is a suspicion of this pathology?

First of all, the doctor collects a medical history from the patient. It is necessary to find out what complaints exist, how they appear when they appeared. Since the forms of atherosclerosis are different, patient complaints may also vary.

In addition to an anamnesis of the disease, it is necessary to collect an anamnesis of the life of a sick person. Clarified heredity, genetic predisposition to the disease, lifestyle, work, nutrition. All these factors affect the appearance of atherosclerosis. This is what you need to find out first. Next, an external examination, laboratory and instrumental studies are performed.

At the external examination, the doctor pays attention to the color of the skin, counts the heartbeat and measures the pressure. High blood pressure, pallor of the skin, heart palpitations may indicate a disease of the cardiovascular system. In addition, when listening to the heart, characteristic noises, expansion of the borders of the heart and other signs of pathology can be detected.

Laboratory tests for diagnosing the disease include:

  • General and biochemical analysis of blood – the level of sugar, blood protein, cholesterol, uric acid, creatinine can be increased. According to a blood test, it can also be assumed which organ suffers the most, and therefore, in which vessel movement is difficult, since different forms of atherosclerosis give a different clinical picture.
  • General urine analysis – there may also be changes in it, especially with pathology of the renal vessels. Protein appears in the urine, red blood cells may be present.
  • A blood test for lipids, as well as immunological analysis, can be important.

Instrumental examination methods:

  1. Electrocardiogram – according to its results, you can assess not only the heart rate, but also see heart rhythm disturbances. It allows you to judge the size of the heart chambers and their work.
  2. Phonocardiogram – is important in the diagnosis of atherosclerosis of the initial parts of the aorta, because it allows you to evaluate heart murmur and detect the disease at a fairly early stage of vascular atherosclerosis.
  3. Ultrasound of the heart – allows you to examine the chambers of the heart, their size, myocardial size, heart valves;
    X-ray – it shows the size of the heart, as well as the shape and size of the aorta.
  4. Magnetic resonance imaging – allows you to evaluate changes in the organs, get clear pictures;
    Angiography of various vessels, including coronary vessels, which feed the heart directly. A contrast agent is introduced into the vessels, which allows to evaluate the blood flow, to see the places where it is difficult. Based on this study, the estimated degree of atherosclerosis can be estimated.

According to indications, the use of other research methods is possible. In addition, consultation of various specialists is required: cardiologist, neurologist, vascular surgeon, ophthalmologist, nephrologist, etc.

Timely diagnosis is important not only in order to prescribe the correct treatment for atherosclerosis, but also to prevent the development of complications.

For modern medicine, the diagnosis of atherosclerosis is not a difficult task, especially if the patient has vivid clinical signs of the disease. Initial conclusions are based on an oral survey of the patient and a general examination. In favor of the disease testify:

  • swelling of the soft tissues;
  • trophic changes in the skin on the limbs;
  • low weight;
  • the presence of wen on the body;
  • change in pulsation of arteries;
  • high or unstable blood pressure.

Since it is impossible to diagnose atherosclerosis only on the basis of complaints and collecting an anamnesis, a comprehensive examination is carried out, which includes:

  • blood tests for low density lipoproteins, triglycerides and cholesterol;
  • angiography of blood vessels;
  • Ultrasound (USG) of the vessels of the kidneys, carotid and coronary arteries, vessels of the lower extremities and aorta.

Also, the diagnosis of atherosclerosis may include examination using MRI and CT. Using these examination methods, organ damage due to tissue ischemia is diagnosed. Of great importance is rheovasography of the lower extremities, which allows to detect a decrease in blood flow velocity in them. This type of diagnosis is useful in case of an onset disease, since it can be difficult to detect atherosclerosis by the previously voiced methods at this stage of progression.

Initial data for atherosclerosis are established by clarifying patient complaints and risk factors. Cardiologist consultation recommended. A general examination reveals signs of atherosclerotic lesions of the vessels of the internal organs: edema, trophic disorders, weight loss, multiple wen on the body, etc. Auscultation of the vessels of the heart, aorta reveals systolic murmurs. For atherosclerosis, there is evidence of a change in arterial pulsation, increased blood pressure, etc.

Laboratory data indicate elevated levels of blood cholesterol, low density lipoproteins, triglycerides. X-ray on aortography reveals signs of aortic atherosclerosis: its elongation, compaction, calcification, expansion in the abdominal or thoracic regions, the presence of aneurysms. The condition of the coronary arteries is determined by coronary angiography.

CT angiography of the aortic arch. Atherosclerosis of the vessels of the aortic arch. Atherosclerotic plaque

Blood flow disorders in other arteries are determined by angiography – contrast radiography of blood vessels. In atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower extremities according to angiography, their obliteration is recorded. With the help of ultrasound of the vessels of the kidneys, atherosclerosis of the renal arteries and the corresponding impaired renal function are detected.

Methods of ultrasound diagnostics of the arteries of the heart, lower extremities, aorta, carotid arteries register a decrease in the main blood flow through them, the presence of atheromatous plaques and blood clots in the lumen of the vessels. Reduced blood flow can be diagnosed with rheovasography of the lower extremities.

Treatment

The course of therapy is selected individually for each patient, taking into account the severity of pathological changes, concomitant diseases, age and well-being of the patient. Treatment for atherosclerotic heart disease includes the following:

  • diet and weight loss;
  • exercise
  • a complete rejection of alcohol and tobacco products;
  • stabilization of the psychoemotional background;
  • taking medication;
  • treatment of folk remedies;
  • surgical intervention.

In the treatment of atherosclerosis adhere to the following principles:

  • limiting cholesterol entering the body and reducing its synthesis by tissue cells;
  • increased excretion of cholesterol and its metabolites from the body;
  • the use of estrogen replacement therapy in women during menopause;
  • exposure to infectious pathogens.

Cholesterol intake from food is limited by the appointment of a diet that excludes cholesterol-containing foods.

The following groups of drugs are used for the medical treatment of atherosclerosis:

  • Nicotinic acid and its derivatives – effectively reduce the content of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, increase the content of high density lipoproteins with antiatherogenic properties. The administration of nicotinic acid preparations is contraindicated in patients suffering from liver diseases.
  • Fibrates (clofibrate) – reduce the synthesis of own fats in the body. May also cause disturbances in the liver and the development of cholelithiasis.
  • Sequestrants of bile acids (cholestyramine, colestipol) – bind and remove bile acids from the intestine, thereby lowering the amount of fat and cholesterol in the cells. When using them, constipation and flatulence can be noted.
  • The drugs of the statin group (lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin) are most effective for lowering cholesterol, because they reduce its production in the body itself. Statins are used at night, because cholesterol synthesis is enhanced at night. May lead to impaired liver function.

Surgical treatment for atherosclerosis is indicated in cases of high threat or the development of artery occlusion with a plaque or thrombus. On the arteries, both open operations (endarterectomy) and endovascular operations are performed with dilation of the artery using balloon catheters and the installation of a stent at the site of narrowing of the artery, which prevents blockage of the vessel.

With severe atherosclerosis of the heart vessels, threatening the development of myocardial infarction, an aortocoronary bypass surgery is performed.

  • Drug treatment of atherosclerosis

It should be noted that the disease is irreversible, that is, it is completely impossible to cure atherosclerosis. Based on the obtained analyzes, complex supportive therapy is prescribed – medical treatment of atherosclerosis and general recommendations on healthy lifestyle.

Treatment of progressive atherosclerosis of the heart vessels includes taking a number of medications to improve the general condition of the patient. These medicines include:

  1. Atherosclerosis occurs against the background of an increase in blood protein-lipid compounds, therefore, agents that reduce their concentration and content are indicated for use. These are drugs of the statin group, for example, simvastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin.
  2. The group of fibrates (clofibrate, bezafibrate) have anticoagulant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These medications are extremely important for treatment, if the patient is overweight, diabetes.
  3. Antiplatelet agents, which include aspirin, have hemorrhaging properties. As a result, they prevent platelet adhesion in the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of thrombosis.
  4. To control blood pressure, antihypertensive drugs are prescribed: diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzymes). Such drugs reduce the likelihood of a sudden stroke, affect the development of dementia.
  5. Improvement of cerebral circulation is called to normalize nootropics, polypeptides, and other vasodilating drugs. They are selected individually according to the testimony of the patient.
  6. Properties of nicotinic acid, such as an unobtrusive decrease in pressure, an obstacle to thrombosis, allow the drug to be actively used in the complex of general therapy for atherosclerosis. The drug is so unique that it helps speedy recovery, even after minor strokes.
  7. Based on studies of recent years, bile acid sequestrants have been successfully used in the comprehensive prevention of heart diseases. They stop the absorption of fats into the blood through the walls of the intestine.
  • Surgical treatment of atherosclerosis

In case of a threat to life, patients are indicated for surgical intervention:

  1. with complications of atherosclerosis, revascularization is carried out – restoration of patency of the arteries;
  2. with ischemia, the threat of heart attacks – they perform coronary artery bypass surgery;
  3. the threat of strokes is quickly stopped by stenting of the carotid artery.

Non-drug treatment and prevention of vascular atherosclerosis includes procedures such as exercise therapy, electrophoresis. Gentle physical activity is also indicated for the disease – walks in the fresh air, Nordic walking, yoga, breathing practices. In the treatment of atherosclerosis, folk remedies, such as herbal medicine (tinctures, decoctions), will not be damaged.

In the treatment of vascular atherosclerosis, not only the prescription of medicines, but also the change in the patient’s lifestyle is important. First of all, you need to adhere to proper nutrition and reduce the intake of cholesterol. In addition, an important factor for successful treatment is the rejection of bad habits, adequate physical activity and stress reduction.

The treatment of atherosclerosis should not only be aimed at dissolving atherosclerotic plaques, but also include the treatment of concomitant diseases that are a risk factor: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease and others. Without this, medication will not produce the desired result, the risk of complications will increase, and surgical intervention may be necessary.

Drugs prescribed for systemic atherosclerosis:

  • Statins – drugs of this group affect the liver, which produces cholesterol in the body. Thereby, its content in the blood decreases. However, at the same time as prescribing these drugs, it is worth taking care of the heart and some other organs, on which they also have an adverse effect.
  • Sequestrants of bile acids – they inhibit the synthesis of bile acids by the body, so it has to use cholesterol to ensure the normal functioning of the digestive system. Thus, the “excess” cholesterol goes into work, and its level in the blood decreases. Preparations of this group allow both to prevent vascular atherosclerosis at an early stage of development, and to ensure its prevention.
  • Fibrates – reduce the production of fats in the body.
  • Nicotinic acid derivatives – these drugs do not directly affect cholesterol reduction, however, they have a vasodilating effect, allowing blood to move better through the affected vessels. In some cases, the appointment of these drugs is contraindicated, and they are replaced with other vasodilating and antispasmodic drugs.

In advanced cases, with the rapid progression of the disease, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Methods of surgical treatment:

  1. Bypass surgery – used to create blood paths to bypass the affected area;
  2. Prosthetics – allows you to completely or partially replace the affected vessel and establish blood flow;
  3. Angioplasty – this method is considered minimally invasive because it does not require abdominal surgery. A special catheter is inserted into the artery, which advances to the place of occurrence of the pathological focus, and the necessary manipulations are already performed there.

The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is quite complicated, the diagnosis can be difficult, since there are no specific symptoms, so if you have any complaints, you should consult a doctor in time.

Treatment for vascular atherosclerosis is aimed at restoring and stimulating the metabolism (primarily proteins and lipids), reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the body and limiting its intake with food. Positive dynamics is observed only during therapy in the initial stages of the disease, while lipid deposits in the arteries do not contain connective tissue and calcifications. With advanced forms of the disease, complex therapy can guarantee only the absence of further progress.

Medicines

The main direction of therapy is taking medications of several groups. The main role is played by statins in atherosclerosis. This group of drugs is intended to lower cholesterol in the body by reducing lipid synthesis in the liver and reducing their absorption in the digestive tract. Sequestrants of bile acids and fibrates, as well as nicotinic acid derivatives, have similar properties.

In addition to the listed drugs, patients with atherosclerotic changes are prescribed additional funds:

    drugs containing Omega-3 – they improve lip >

Drug therapy should be accompanied by a strict cholesterol-free diet, since it is not effective to treat atherosclerosis with drugs alone: ​​without limiting the intake of lipids from food, they will not be able to exert a pronounced effect on the body.

Treatment

Prevention and consequences of the disease

It is important to know not only how to treat vascular atherosclerosis, but also what measures should be taken to prevent it.

First of all, this is normalization of nutrition. You should switch to low-fat, cholesterol-poor foods. It is useful to include linseed and olive oil in your diet, as they dissolve cholesterol compounds. You need to eat more foods containing fiber.

If you are overweight, you should bring it back to normal if possible. You must understand that with atherosclerosis, such weight is a risk factor for complications, as well as a kind of indicator of malnutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

It is necessary to give the body adequate physical activity, prefer public transport walking on fresh air. Such a lifestyle helps both fight against atherosclerosis, and generally strengthens the cardiovascular system.

To prevent atherosclerosis, you must adhere to the rules of a healthy lifestyle. Key recommendations:

  • balanced nutrition;
  • permissible physical activity and weight control;
  • exclusion of bad habits;
  • normalization of the psychological background.

If the rules are not followed and the disease develops further, insufficiency of blood circulation and nutrition of body tissues and irreversible disturbances of cardiovascular activity occur. A common cause of death in atherosclerosis is sudden cardiac arrest due to heart failure, coronary heart disease (CHD), and thromboembolism.

In many ways, the prognosis of atherosclerosis is determined by the behavior and lifestyle of the patient himself. The elimination of possible risk factors and active drug therapy can delay the development of atherosclerosis and achieve improvement in the patient’s condition. With the development of acute circulatory disorders with the formation of foci of necrosis in the organs, the prognosis worsens.

In order to prevent atherosclerosis, smoking cessation, the exclusion of a stress factor, the transition to low-fat and low-cholesterol foods, systematic physical activity commensurate with capabilities and age, weight normalization are necessary. It is advisable to include in the diet foods containing fiber, vegetable fats (linseed and olive oils) that dissolve cholesterol deposits. The progression of atherosclerosis can be slowed by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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