Last updated:10-15-2008
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Definition and causes

With age, all people develop stiffer arteries (arteries). Artery meanhard arteriesand covers all the changes that make arteries more rigid. The overwhelming reason for the artery is calledatherosclerosisWhich 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 body's major arteries. If it develops, can yield streak together to larger areas, and form a so-calledaterom(hence the name atherosclerosis, which meanshardaterom). 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.

Atherosclerosis leads to the closing of blood vessels, which can lead to vævsdød due to lack of oxygen. Pieces of blood stoppers in the tanks can provide more tear themselves loose, and continued with the blood, where they can give blood clots in other parts of the body (usually the brain).
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 (hovedpulsåren) and in heart, brain, legs and renal arteries, but can occur in all large and medium-sized arteries.

Although much has been done to prevent and improve treatment of arteriosclerosis-related diseases, these are still the leading cause of death in the Western world. In Denmark it is foreseen that arteriosclerosis is guilty of some. 19,100 deaths annually (including ca.14.000 due to heart attack, ca. 5000 due to blood vessel disease in the brain around. 100 due to arteriosclerosis in the legs).

Risk Factors

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

  • Smoking.

  • Male. Males develop arteriosclerosis 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. In particular, the so-called LDL-cholesterol is bad.

  • Diabetes (diabetes), Type 1 and type 2.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Stress.


Smoking in all investigations have proved highly associated with arteriosclerosis. Smoking increases the particular inflammatory condition of karvæggen. A smoking cessation has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in all ages. In addition, smoking is associated with many other disorders, as lung cancer, cervical cancer, urinary bladder, larynx and tongue. Smoking cessation provides increased energy to exercise.

Motion / Obesity

Along with smoking is a lack of physical activity / obesity a factor which is relatively simple to do something about. To get the pulse up a few times a day has been shown to have a preventive effect on cardiovascular disease, as well as other lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. It is recommended to grow min. half an hour of exercise a day, this can be anything from running, swimming, team sports, to take the bike work and the stairs instead of the elevator.
Obesity and inactivity are linked. There is a chemical change in the blood by overweight, so you get more fat in the blood, and it increases the risk of disease. If the arms and legs do not move, it increases the risk of blood clots in veins overwhelming.

Increased blood cholesterol

Cholesterol is deposited in karvæggen and raise a betændelselstilstand, further destroying and fortykker karvæggen. Especially so-called LDL-cholesterol is harmful to the body (popular known as thebadorevilcholesterol). There is still much debate on where the border for treatment is in terms of blood cholesterol. Many people take a daily pill (statins), keeping cholesterol levels down. Dietary changes can help reduce cholesterol, and it recommended that the daily intake of fat max. representing 30% of energy in the diet (this fat-energy-percentage is not the same as the fat content, but often disclosed in foods).
Even if one cultivates exercise and eating healthy, can still be family history of high cholesterol, so it may be advisable to have studied cholesterol, if several of the family suffers from the problem.


Diabetes leads to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The vibrations are very individual, depending on the medical well-regulated each person is. It is still not entirely clear why diabetes gives higher tendency to arteriosclerosis, but poorly regulated blood sugar levels gives an increased risk. It is also associated with increased fat and cholesterol in your blood. In diabetes does not appear on gender, as seen in arteriosclerosis patients without diabetes, where men debut with sy

High blood pressure

This burden on heart and blood vessel and gives an increased risk of scratches in karvæggen, which can develop into blood clots. Arterievæggene can also grow and become rigid because of the pressure they must withstand. It is therefore important to get checked his blood pressure from their own doctor, and if it is elevated, your doctor may give drugs to lower it. Blood pressure taken several times, possibly. at home, so you are sure it was not only "false high" at the sight of a white coat.
Plenty of exercise and a stressfri lives are contributing factors to lower blood pressure.



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