Hardening of the arteries (2022)

Hardening of the arteries; Arteriosclerosis; Plaque buildup - arteries; Hyperlipidemia - atherosclerosis; Cholesterol - atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries. These deposits are called plaques. Over time, these plaques can narrow or completely block the arteries and cause problems throughout the body.

Atherosclerosis is a common disorder.

Hardening of the arteries (1)

Blood is the fuel that keeps your body alive and working. It's your blood that transports the oxygen your cells need to survive. To get to your heart and out the rest of your body, blood needs a clear pathway through your arteries. But as you get older - and if you eat too many French fries and cheeseburgers - your arteries can harden and narrow, fill with plaque, leaving less room for blood to flow through. Let's talk today about atherosclerosis. Your arteries are like the pipes your water flows through to get to your bathroom sink. When the pipes are clear, water flows easily through them. But when minerals, rust, and other debris get stuck in the pipes, it clogs them up, leaving less room for water to flow through. That's why you get nothing more than a drip when you turn on your bathroom sink. In your arteries, clogs are caused by plaque. Plaque is a substance made up of fat and cholesterol, which are found in unhealthy foods like those French fries and also bacon. Because plaque is sticky, it collects on your artery walls and blocks the flow of blood. Sometimes a clump of plaque breaks off and floats away to a smaller blood vessel leading to your heart or brain. If it gets stuck in that vessel, you can have a heart attack or stroke. Or, the plaque can weaken an artery wall, which is called an aneurysm. If that aneurysm breaks open, you could have a very life-threatening bleeding. How can you tell if you have atherosclerosis? Well, that's the tricky part, because often atherosclerosis doesn't cause any symptoms until you've got a blocked artery. And by then, you could already be having a heart attack or stroke. So that you don't discover the problem too late, see your doctor for regular check-ups. Get your cholesterol screened by age 35 if you're a man, age 45 if you're a woman. Also have your blood pressure checked every 1 to 2 years before age 50, and then once a year after that. You may need to have your blood pressure checked even more often if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or you've already had a stroke. Although you can't reverse atherosclerosis once it starts, you can prevent it with some easy lifestyle changes. Eat a balanced diet that's high in heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, and fish. Exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. Stop smoking, cause that's really bad news for your arteries. If your cholesterol is high, ask your doctor whether you should take cholesterol-lowering medication. Lastly, you may also need to take aspirin or another blood-thinning drug to prevent clots from forming in your arteries.

Hardening of the arteries (2)

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which deposits of fatty material, called plaques, develop in the walls of arteries, leading to a reduction or blockage of blood flow. It can affect almost any artery in the body. Atherosclerosis is the most important and most common type of arteriosclerosis, a group of diseases in which the wall of an artery becomes thicker and less elastic. The development of atherosclerosis is complex, but the primary event appears to be injury to the arterial wall. Many different factors can injure the artery's wall, triggering the formation of plaque, for example, turbulent blood flow due to high blood pressure (BP), inflammatory immune responses, certain infections, and chemical abnormalities of the blood, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Chemical signals that are generated as a result of injury cause white blood cells to attach to the arterial wall, where they collect cholesterol and other fatty material, eventually forming plaque. Over time, the build-up of plaque narrows the space within an artery. Certain risk factors, such as being a male, advanced age, and a family history of early atherosclerosis, cannot be changed. However, to help prevent atherosclerosis, individuals can refrain from tobacco use, decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lose weight, consume fresh fruits and vegetables daily, eat a diet that is low in saturated fats, and exercise regularly. Diabetic individuals need to maintain strict control of their blood sugar. People at high risk for developing atherosclerosis may also benefit from taking certain drugs, such as statins, aspirin, or other antiplatelet drugs.

Hardening of the arteries (3)

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which fatty material is deposited on the wall of an artery. Normally, the walls of an artery are smooth, allowing blood to flow unimpeded. However, if damage occurs to its inner lining, fat, cholesterol, platelets, and other substances may accumulate at a damaged section of the arterial wall. Eventually, the tissue builds up and a plaque is formed, narrowing the lumen of the artery. Where the narrowing is severe, there is a risk that the vessel can become blocked completely if a thrombus forms in the diseased segment.

Hardening of the arteries (4)

A carotid arteriogram is an X-ray study designed to determine if there is narrowing or other abnormality in the carotid artery, a main artery to the brain. This is an angiogram of the left common carotid artery (both front-to-back and side views) showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just beyond the division of the common carotid artery into the internal and external branches.

Hardening of the arteries (5)

This is an angiogram of the right carotid artery showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just past the carotid fork. There is enlargement of the artery or ulceration in the area after the stenosis in this close-up film. Note the narrowed segment toward the bottom of the picture.

Hardening of the arteries (6)

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries in which fatty material and plaque are deposited in the wall of an artery, resulting in narrowing of the arterial lumen and eventual impairment of blood flow.

(Video) Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis)

Hardening of the arteries (7)

Heart disease may be prevented by recommended healthy diet, regular exercise and to stop smoking if you are a smoker. Follow your health care provider's recommendations for treatment and prevention of heart disease.

Hardening of the arteries (8)

The development of arterial atherosclerosis may occur when deposits of cholesterol and plaque accumulate at a tear in the inner lining of an artery. As the deposits harden and occlude the arterial lumen, blood flow to distant tissues decreases and a clot may become lodged, completely blocking the artery.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which deposits of fatty material, called plaques, develop in the walls of arteries, leading to a reduction or blockage of blood flow. It can affect almost any artery in the body. Atherosclerosis is the most important and most common type of arteriosclerosis, a group of diseases in which the wall of an artery becomes thicker and less elastic. The development of atherosclerosis is complex, but the primary event appears to be injury to the arterial wall. Many different factors can injure the artery's wall, triggering the formation of plaque, for example, turbulent blood flow due to high blood pressure (BP), inflammatory immune responses, certain infections, and chemical abnormalities of the blood, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Chemical signals that are generated as a result of injury cause white blood cells to attach to the arterial wall, where they collect cholesterol and other fatty material, eventually forming plaque. Over time, the build-up of plaque narrows the space within an artery. Certain risk factors, such as being a male, advanced age, and a family history of early atherosclerosis, cannot be changed. However, to help prevent atherosclerosis, individuals can refrain from tobacco use, decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lose weight, consume fresh fruits and vegetables daily, eat a diet that is low in saturated fats, and exercise regularly. Diabetic individuals need to maintain strict control of their blood sugar. People at high risk for developing atherosclerosis may also benefit from taking certain drugs, such as statins, aspirin, or other antiplatelet drugs.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

(Video) Hardening of the Arteries

References

FAQs

Can you live a long life with hardening of the arteries? ›

With early diagnosis and treatment, people with atherosclerosis can live healthy, active lives. But the disease can cause health emergencies and even death.

What does it mean when you have hardening of the arteries? ›

Atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries. These deposits are called plaques. Over time, these plaques can narrow or completely block the arteries and cause problems throughout the body.

What is the main cause of hardening of the arteries? ›

Atherosclerosis thickening or hardening of the arteries. It is caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. Plaque is made up of deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin. As it builds up in the arteries, the artery walls become thickened and stiff.

What is the best treatment for hardening of the arteries? ›

How is atherosclerosis treated?
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs, including statins.
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which may lower blood pressure.
  • beta-blockers, which “rest” the heart.
  • antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin to prevent blood from clotting and clogging your arteries.

Can a blocked artery clear itself? ›

Is it possible to Unclog Arteries Naturally? Although it isn't possible to remove plaque from your arterial walls without surgery, you can halt and prevent future plaque build-up.

What foods unclog your arteries naturally? ›

  • Berries. Berries include blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries. ...
  • Beans. Beans are packed with fiber and well known for their heart health benefits. ...
  • Fish. Fish is loaded with essential nutrients, including omega-3 fats. ...
  • Tomatoes and tomato products. ...
  • Onions. ...
  • Citrus fruits. ...
  • Spices. ...
  • Flax seeds.

What are the symptoms of hardening arteries? ›

If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain, you may have sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face.

What food causes calcium buildup in arteries? ›

13 in Science, suggests that consuming food rich in saturated fat and choline - a nutrient found in red meat, eggs and dairy products - increases the number of metabolites that build plaques in the arteries.

At what age does hardening of the arteries begin? ›

"Atherosclerosis usually starts in the teens and 20s, and by the 30s we can see changes in most people," says cardiologist Matthew Sorrentino MD, a professor at The University of Chicago Medicine. In the early stages, your heart-related screening tests, like cholesterol checks, might still come back normal.

Does stress cause hardening of the arteries? ›

Research indicates that chronic psychological stress can increase the risk of atherosclerotic diseases, including strokes and heart attacks. Chronic stress is pervasive during negative life events and can lead to the formation of plaque in the arteries (AS).

What are the symptoms of hardening of the arteries in the legs? ›

Symptoms of peripheral arterial disease
  • hair loss on your legs and feet.
  • numbness or weakness in the legs.
  • brittle, slow-growing toenails.
  • ulcers (open sores) on your feet and legs, which do not heal.
  • changing skin colour on your legs, such as turning pale or blue.
  • shiny skin.
  • in men, erectile dysfunction.

Can Apple cider vinegar clean out your arteries? ›

Although we're not sure where this claim originated from, we do know there is no scientific evidence proving apple cider vinegar clears clogged arteries. In fact, vinegar should not be substituted for standard treatment.

How long can you live with blocked arteries? ›

Many times people live happily with a blocked artery. But with one blocked artery symptoms are a high chance of reduced life expectancy. Asymptomatic patients live up to 3-5 years.

What medication removes plaque from arteries? ›

What Medication Removes Plaque From Arteries?
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, called ACE inhibitors, to lower blood pressure.
  • Beta-blockers to lower blood pressure.
  • Calcium ion channel blockers to relax arteries and lower blood pressure.
  • Nitrates to ease chest pain.
  • Blood thinners to prevent clots.
21 Oct 2021

What drink cleans arteries? ›

Pomegranate Juice Soothes Stressed Arteries
  • In the study, researchers tested the effects of pomegranate juice on samples of human cells that line blood vessels. ...
  • In addition, tests on mice showed that pomegranate juice significantly slowed hardening of the arteries that developed from high cholesterol.
21 Mar 2005

Does lemon juice clear blocked arteries? ›

Lemon acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Lemon peels which contain citrus flavonoids play a role in the treatment of insulin resistance, and can help prevent clogged arteries.

Do eggs clog arteries? ›

For example, egg yolks contain phosphatidylcholine, a chemical that can contribute to clogged arteries, he said.

Does oatmeal remove plaque arteries? ›

Oats. Oats are an excellent choice for those who have atherosclerosis or are trying to prevent clogged arteries. Eating oats can help significantly reduce atherosclerosis risk factors, including high levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol ( 39 ).

What foods reduce calcium score? ›

Some of the best foods for helping to reduce your coronary calcium score include:
  • Avocados.
  • Nuts.
  • Fish.
  • Olive oil.
  • Coffee.
  • Soy proteins.
  • Garlic.
  • High-fiber foods.

Can vitamin D cause calcification of arteries? ›

Experimental studies have shown that excessive vitamin D activities can induce vascular calcification, and such vascular pathology can be reversed by reducing vitamin D activities. The human relevance of these experimental studies is not clear, as vitamin D toxicity is relatively rare in the general population.

Which fruit is best for heart? ›

Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt. Seeds. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health.

Does turmeric clean your arteries? ›

Use Turmeric Daily to Clean Your Arteries and Cardiovascular System

What does a blocked artery feel like? ›

A completely blocked coronary artery will cause a heart attack. The classic signs and symptoms of a heart attack include crushing chest pain or pressure, shoulder or arm pain, shortness of breath, and sweating. Women may have less typical symptoms, such as neck or jaw pain, nausea and fatigue.

Is there a test for hardening of the arteries? ›

A coronary calcium scan is a CT scan of your heart that measures the amount of calcium in the walls of your coronary arteries. Buildup of calcium, or calcifications, are a sign of atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease. A coronary calcium scan may be done in a medical imaging facility or hospital.

Does anything dissolve plaque in arteries? ›

The key is lowering LDL and making lifestyle changes.

"Making plaque disappear is not possible, but we can shrink and stabilize it," says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard Medical School professor. Plaque forms when cholesterol (above, in yellow) lodges in the wall of the artery.

How do you check for clogged arteries? ›

A CT coronary angiogram can reveal plaque buildup and identify blockages in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Prior to the test, a contrast dye is injected into the arm to make the arteries more visible. The test typically takes 30 minutes to complete.

Does ice cream clog arteries? ›

Ice Cream. Ice cream is high in sugar, calories, and saturated fat, so save it for a special treat. Eating foods loaded with fat and sugar leads to weight gain. It can also drive up your triglycerides and lead to a heart attack.

Does milk cause plaque in arteries? ›

High milk consumption is also a risk factor for IMT thickening (OR = 1.15, 95%CI 1.08–1.23), carotid plaque formation (OR = 1.17, 95%CI 1.09–1.25) and carotid stenosis over 50% (OR = 1.52, 95%CI 1.10–2.14) in the propensity score-matched population.

Which artery is the most common to have blockage? ›

When this happens, patients may go into cardiac arrest. Statistically, Niess said widow-makers are more likely to lead to brain injury and irregular heartbeat. Although blockages can occur in other arteries leading to the heart, the LAD artery is where most blockages occur.

Do most 70 year olds have atherosclerosis? ›

For most Americans over the age of 60, atherosclerosis is a common fact of life, viewed as an inevitable consequence of growing old. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque, composed of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances, builds up inside the arteries.

What percentage of people have plaque in their arteries? ›

We found that 8.3% of the adults had one or more non-calcified plaques. Non-calcified atherosclerosis is believed to be more prone to cause heart attacks compared with calcified atherosclerosis.”

Does aspirin reduce plaque in arteries? ›

As a blood thinner, aspirin can help reduce the risk of plaque rupture, as well as some of the resulting clotting — thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in someone who has substantial buildup.

Can heart problems make you sleep a lot? ›

Still, it's serious. As your heart works overtime, it can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and a feeling of being simply worn out. Such are the signs of fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Can anxiety cause blocked arteries? ›

Stress increases the plaque rate and it can accumulate in the arteries. It makes platelets sticky and prone to forming clots that can block these arteries. Stress can also cause arteries to constrict, starving the heart of nourishing blood and triggering chest pain or a heart attack.

How can I improve circulation in my legs and feet? ›

Here are 7 quick tips to improve blood circulation in the legs and feet:
  1. Walking. Walking is the simplest yet most effective exercise to help improve blood circulation in your legs. ...
  2. Stretching exercises. ...
  3. Different sitting positions. ...
  4. Compression stockings. ...
  5. Yoga. ...
  6. A massage. ...
  7. Sauna bath.
7 Feb 2022

Which leg is your main artery in? ›

The femoral artery is the major blood vessel supplying blood to your legs. It's in your upper thigh, right near your groin. The artery is a common access point for minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures because of its large diameter.

How long can you live with blocked arteries in legs? ›

This risk means that one in five people with PAD, if left undiagnosed and untreated, will suffer a heart attack, stroke, or death within five years. Untreated PAD can have other serious consequences, including leg muscle pain, discomfort during exercise, and loss of mobility and independence.

Can you live a long life with plaque in arteries? ›

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is treatable, but there is no cure. This means that once diagnosed with CAD, you have to learn to live with it for the rest of your life. By lowering your risk factors and losing your fears, you can live a full life despite CAD.

How long can you live with blocked arteries? ›

Many times people live happily with a blocked artery. But with one blocked artery symptoms are a high chance of reduced life expectancy. Asymptomatic patients live up to 3-5 years.

How long can you live with arteriosclerosis? ›

Plaque buildup can take away years of life, especially for people who have complications. For example, a heart attack takes away more than 16 years of life on average. People with heart failure lose an average of nearly 10 years. Everyone can take steps to adopt heart-healthy living.

Can you soften hardened arteries? ›

Once your arteries have hardened, says Lichtenstein, they won't soften back up. “You want to try to avoid stiffening from the beginning,” she says. But it's never too late to prevent additional damage to your arteries, with key lifestyle steps.

What is the best test to check for clogged arteries? ›

A CT coronary angiogram can reveal plaque buildup and identify blockages in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Prior to the test, a contrast dye is injected into the arm to make the arteries more visible. The test typically takes 30 minutes to complete.

What does a blocked artery feel like? ›

A completely blocked coronary artery will cause a heart attack. The classic signs and symptoms of a heart attack include crushing chest pain or pressure, shoulder or arm pain, shortness of breath, and sweating. Women may have less typical symptoms, such as neck or jaw pain, nausea and fatigue.

What are the symptoms of hardening arteries? ›

If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain, you may have sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face.

What drink cleans arteries? ›

Pomegranate Juice Soothes Stressed Arteries
  • In the study, researchers tested the effects of pomegranate juice on samples of human cells that line blood vessels. ...
  • In addition, tests on mice showed that pomegranate juice significantly slowed hardening of the arteries that developed from high cholesterol.
21 Mar 2005

How do you clear your arteries without surgery? ›

Through angioplasty, our cardiologists are able to treat patients with blocked or clogged coronary arteries quickly without surgery. During the procedure, a cardiologist threads a balloon-tipped catheter to the site of the narrowed or blocked artery and then inflates the balloon to open the vessel.

What foods unclog your arteries naturally? ›

Here are some of the best foods that unclog arteries to eat in order to prevent or clean clogged arteries.
  • Berries. Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries are best. ...
  • Tomatoes. ...
  • Onions. ...
  • Citrus Fruits. ...
  • Cruciferous Vegetables. ...
  • Leafy Greens. ...
  • Beans. ...
  • Fish.
21 Jul 2021

What are the warning signs of arteriosclerosis? ›

Symptoms
  • Chest pain or pressure (angina)
  • Sudden arm or leg weakness or numbness.
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking.
  • Brief loss of vision in one eye.
  • Drooping facial muscles.
  • Pain when walking.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Kidney failure.

How long can a person live after stent? ›

Survival was 99.5% at 1 year and 97.4% after 5 years; "event free survival" was 84.6% at 1 year and 65.9% after 5 years; "ischemia free survival" was 84.6% at 1 year and 44.8% after 5 years.

How fast does atherosclerosis progress? ›

Although atherosclerosis is believed to progress over many years, it has been increasingly noted to progress over few months to 2-3 years in few patients without traditional factors for accelerated atherosclerosis. Hence the term rapid progression of atherosclerosis has been used in recent years.

Does lemon juice clear blocked arteries? ›

Lemon acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Lemon peels which contain citrus flavonoids play a role in the treatment of insulin resistance, and can help prevent clogged arteries.

Does raw garlic clean arteries? ›

A government-funded study has concluded that garlic doesn't lower cholesterol. But advocates of herbal and nutritional remedies are responding to the news with this advice: Keep eating the onion-like herb because what befouls one's breath may befriend one's health.

Can Apple cider vinegar remove plaque from arteries? ›

There is no scientific evidence to support that apple cider vinegar removes arterial plaque. There is very limited evidence that shows apple cider vinegar can help improve our lipids of cholesterol. Plaque removal from artery walls is tough. In fact, without the use of intrusive therapy, it's nearly impossible.

Videos

1. Hardening of the Arteries: How secondary prevention can help keep you healthy
(ThrombosisCanada)
2. Can You Reverse Coronary Artery Disease?
(Cleveland Clinic)
3. Coren Menendez, MD - Hardening of the Arteries
(BaptistHealthSF)
4. Intensive Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Can Reverse Hardening Arteries
(Cleveland Clinic)
5. Hardening of the Arteries, Dr. Ahmed
(Emory Decatur Hospital)
6. What is Coronary Artery Disease - Mechanism of Disease
(Thrombosis Adviser)

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