Atherosclerosis Treatments and Outcome

Atherosclerosis is a circulatory system ailment involving the arteries. Treatment in the early stage involves adopting a healthier lifestyle  and medications, as follows. Latter stage diagnosis may result in surgery for the affected artery outlined below, such as, the coronary artery and carotid artery. 

The condition is signified by the tightening and coagulation of the arteries due to accumulation of cholesterol that destroys the endothelium. The endothelium is the lining of the artery that keeps it smooth, allowing the flow of blood. Arteries are large blood vessels that send oxygenated blood from the heart to different parts of the body. This is how important arteries are. A clogged artery may lead to stroke, heart attack and other vascular diseases depending on which artery(s) is affected.  A clogged artery may also lead to death of select organs or eventually death to the individual.  

The more a person eats fatty foods, the faster the “growth of the clog(s)”. The clog may cause blockage and later a heart attack or stroke when it gets worse.

Treatment Options and Outcome

A cure has not been found for atherosclerosis. Treatment may slow down the progression of the ailment. It is always a healthy lifestyle that may decelerate the worsening of atherosclerosis. The main goal in this treatment is to avert the stiffening of the arteries and eventually prevent damage to organs. To prevent further development of the disease, people who smoke should quit smoking, all should exercise regularly and have a proper diet. Many take aspirin when advised by a physician.

 Medications

 There are the five classes of medications taken to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body. These are:

  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors; blocking an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which directs the production of cholesterol in the liver.
  • Bile acid-binding resins; drugs that lower the cholesterol level in the body but are less effective and harder to tolerate.
  • Niacin; a type of vitamin B that helps control the amount of cholesterol.
  •  Fibrates; a fibric acid that lowers fatty acids in the body.
  •  Cholesterol-absorption inhibitors, which is the most advance drug among cholesterol lowering agents.

 Targeted Adjunct Treatment

Specific treatment may also be necessary to directly address the affected artery, if the person qualifies for treament.

  • People with clogged coronary arteries may be advised to take drugs that ease angina, or chest pains, and prevent heart attack. These people may also qualify for heart bypass surgery. Targeted adjunct treatment detail can be found under Heart Attack Treatment Options.
  • People with developing clogs in the carotid artery may be advised to take antiplatelet drugs such as, aspirin, dipyridamole and clopidogrel (Plavix), and anticoagulant medications, such as warfarin and heparin. This is to prevent a probable stroke. People who experience a Stroke may qualify for a Clot Busting Shot to reduce the risk of permanent disability by 1/3 if they get the shot within 3 hours and qualify for treatment. There are also other treatment options for this type of Stroke, described in  Ischemic Stroke Treatments.
  • People with blocked arteries that supply the abdominal area may be advised to undergo a balloon angioplasty, with or without stents, or a bypass arterial graft which is typically imperative for people with blocked arteries supplying the abdominal area.
  • People with severe atherosclerosis may be advised to undergo surgery which includes balloon angioplasty with or without stents, laser angioplasty, atherectomy or bypass grafts to slow down the progress of the disease.

 

 For a quick cholesterol check, learn more about the value of  Health Screenings!

Again, untreated atherosclerosis may lead to stroke, heart attack, organ impairment, diminished daily living skill ability,  and even death. A complete cure has not been found yet but treating the condition may delay the advancement of the ailment.

It is important to recognize that all medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. All information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.