Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition that is characterized by narrowing of arteries throughout the circulatory system that supports the delivery of oxygenated blood from the heart to various areas throughout the body. This condition occurs due to accumulation of cholesterol, known as plaque that may result in a clogged artery followed by a stroke, heart attack, and/or other vascular diseases. At this point, it is life threatening.  

High cholesterol is the only traditional indicator in the early stage of the disease.Comprehensive Pet Scans may detect slight Atherosclerosis. Symptoms do not visibly  appear until the later stages when the condition often becomes emergent. Symptoms that do appear depend on which artery is affected, as follows.

Coronary Artery Blockage that when ruptured causes stroke as this blood vessel supplies oxygen to the brain. A damaged coronary artery could result in a Heart Attack as this is the one delivering oxygen to the heart.

  •  Vomiting
  • Extreme Anxiety
  • Chest Pain
  •  Coughing  
  • Nausea
  • Leg Pain
  • Weakness
  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Headache
  • Facial Numbness
  • Paralysis

Renal Arteries that when affected limits oxygen to the Kidneys.

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Swelling of Hands and Feet  
  • Difficulty in Concentrating

Peripheral Artery otherwise sends the appropriate amount oxygenated blood to the Limbs.

  • Pain in the Legs particularly in the calves, thighs or hips, characterized by numbness, heaviness or cramps-like discomfort.
  • Loss of hair in the legs or feet
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Change in Skin Color in the Leg
  • Bulkier Toe Nails
  • Weakening of the Legs. 

The Physician Consultation 

Symptoms only show when the blockage becomes severe. Diagnosing atherosclerosis requires a thorough physical examination including: using a stethoscope to listen for irregularities flow of blood, pulse rate and blood pressure. Your physician will also look for other signs of the condition and potentially related conditions, such as, aneurysm and incompletely healed wounds. The following tests may also apply.  

  • Blood Test to assess the level cholesterol present in the blood, how dense the cholesterol is and the level of sugar.
  • Comprehensive Pet Scans may detect slight and more advanced Atherosclerosis. This is an elective fee for service diagnostic tool that may also be useful in predicting other diseases.
  • Ultrasound and Computerized Tomography (CT) scan may precisely conclude if a person has Atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis

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It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that 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.