Last updated:10-15-2008
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Definition and causes

With age, all people develop stiffer arteries (arteries). Artery is hard arteries and covers any changes that make arteries more rigid. The overwhelming reason for the artery is known as atherosclerosis, which in English is called arteriosclerosis.


Already in the teenage years can be developed so-called fatty streaks, which are deposits of cholesterol and fat on the inside of the great arteries. If it develops, can yield streak together to larger areas, and form a so-called aterom (hence the name atherosclerosis, which meanshard aterom). Ateromet consists of fat and inflammatory cells and may have a thin forkalket be. There is therefore proposed designations as åreforfedtning or åreforsnævring instead of the somewhat misleading arteriosclerosis.


The uneven surface of ateromet makes platelets in the blood more easily becomes lodged and pile up here (atricyclic, Also called a thrombus). It leads to a further narrowing of the artery. Clumps of platelets can either grow so large that it afklemmer of oxygen supply to the tissues, arteries supplying, but it can also tear themselves away and form a so-calledembolism. This continued with blood, and can become lodged in other arteries, for example. in the brain, kidneys or bones.


Widespread damage arterievæggene atherosclerosis, as they lose their elasticity. It makes the heart must pump against a higher resistance, and the heart becomes congested. Blood pressure is rising for the same reason.


Almost all will eventually develop signs of atherosclerosis, but it is far from all, who would mark something of it. The changes are predominantly in the aorta, the heart, brain, legs and Renal arteries, but can occur in all large and medium-sized arteries.


It has several factors that are associated with increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis:

  • Smoking. Is strongly associated with the disease, and of all ages equal risk significantly reduced by stopping smoking.

  • Male. Males develop aterosklerotiske diseases around. 10 years earlier than women.

  • Hereditary conditions. There is an increased risk if arteriosclerosis occurs in the family.

  • Lack of exercise. Even ½ -1 hour daily time is prevention of arteriosclerosis.

  • Obesity.

  • Increased blood cholesterol. Especially so-called LDL-cholesterol is bad.

  • Diabetes (diabetes),Type 1andType 2.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Stress.

Symptoms of arteriosclerosis

Atherosclerosis begins with symptoms when around. 2 / 3 of karrets cross-section is closed, or if detached embolism that causes damage in other tissues. The symptoms vary depending on where in the body, they show themselves.


The legs:

By thrombus in the groin or thigh arteries occurs gradually pain from the legs. The pains appear at once, when the muscles need more oxygen. Since oxygen can not be met due to a narrow artery, the pain occurs, and you have to stop and wait for the blood to the legs again. The symptom has in the Danish therefore called vindueskiggerben (the Latin name is the symptomclaudicatio intermittent).


In more severe cases can cause pain at night, and many are forced to sit up and sleep, so that more blood to the legs. They wake up often with very swollen legs.


There may be persistent pain in the toes, and if you get sores on their feet, they can be very slow to everything, and they may become so deep that they are in favor of the muscles. In the worst cases it can take so-calleddry gangrenein the leg, and one is forced to amputate.


An embolism can break away from a trigger, for example, aorta or heart and become lodged in an artery in the leg. This may give sudden pain in my leg, and if embolism are sufficiently large, must be urgently operation in order to save the leg.


The brain:

If a trigger or an embolism afklemmer a trough in the brain, you get a stroke (a stroke). Due to arteriosclerosis arterievæggen can be fragile, by simultaneously high blood pressure can be wall bulge out in a so-calledaneurysm.Deficits this, a brain haemorrhage, which also gives stroke.


It is seen not rare for small embolism dissolved again, after they have put themselves in an artery in the brain. The symptoms of stroke is because over again, and we are talking abouttransient cerebral ischemia (TCI).


The heart:
It is rare to be seen embolism in their coronary arteries, but atherosclerosis in these is a very frequent disease. Thrombus may arise during the heart cramps or heart attack. It can give heart attacks or cardiac arrest


Related articles:

Arteriosclerosis (artery and atherosclerosis)
Calcification of the coronary arteries
Heart attack (myocardial infarction, acute myocardial infarction, AMI)
Heart failure (Heart Failure)
Heart pain (angina)
High blood pressure (Hypertonia, hypertension, high blood pressure)



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