As people are getting older their arteries are more prone to hardening, so most adults have a certain degree of arteriosclerosis. However, although the gradual loss of elasticity of the arterial walls is inevitable, the weight of this condition is directly related to atherosclerosis, regardless of its degree. Because of this – hardening and narrowing of tha arteries – blood flow through them is slowed down. Arteriosclerosis sometimes affects more important arteries, such as aorta. However, it usually affects arteries that circulate the brain (celebral arteriosclerosis) and lower limbs, and therefore, these arteries have severely reduced blood supply.
Arteriosclerosis, which weakens blood circulation in the lower limbs, can cause pain. Pain in the legs is generally felt when moving. With increased activity the pain increases and disappears when the activity is interrupted; this is because work muscles seek stronger blood circulation. Another possible symptom is pain in the toes, which is present even when a person rests; the pain is usually stronger at night. You can ease the pain (at least in the initial stage) if you sleep with your legs are over the edge of the bed because it stimulates the circulation in your toes.
Celebral arteriosclerosis may cause dizziness (when a person is moving the head) and temporary loss of vision.
Although almost everyone has arteriosclerosis to some extent, most people are not aware of this. Severe arteriosclerosis is mainly male dysfunction; the ratio of men and women is 5 out of 2, and this statistic confirms that cigarette smokers are particularly at risk. The older you are, the more likely that arteriosclerosis will be tougher. The disease seems to be hereditary, and its harmful effect may be even more pronounced if you already suffer from anemia, diabetes, or heart decompensation.
As with atherosclerosis, the risk depends on the affected part of the body. The particular danger comes from a fact that that this condition can cause thrombosis in the diseased artery and, ultimately, cause a stroke. Other possible serious complications come from coronary sclerosis, dry gangrene and the development of spinal aneurysm.
What to do?
Start with self-help measures to slow the development of atherosclerosis, even if you feel good. If you think you have symptoms of arteriosclerosis, contact your doctor who will refer you to electrocardiography (EKG) after your examination, as this disease may affect the coronary artery. X-ray recording of the chest and blood and urine tests can also help diagnose this condition.
Self-help: all that we recommend for treating atherosclerosis generally applies to arteriosclerosis. Reduce, for example, taking animal and milk fat and eat only three eggs a week. Because cigarette smokers are at particular risk, you must stop smoking right away. In addition, if the disease has affected your feet, keep them warm and dry. When you are cutting your nails on your feet, be careful and try to avoid any injuries because open wound is very susceptible to infections in arteriosclerosis. We recommend that you rather go to pedicure.
Professional help: a doctor will help you treat any illness (e.g. anemia, diabetes, or heart failure), which complicates the consequences of arteriosclerosis. Doctor can sometimes prescribe vasodilators (medicines that widens blood vessels) and anticoagulants against arteriosclerosis; they are usually taken for a long time.
Surgical treatment is possible if the disease is not advanced. With operation, the narrowed part of the artery is replaced by artificial tube or part of the vein that is removed from another part of the body. The operation can be successful, but can not eliminate the causes of arteriosclerosis.
Long term prospects
Although it is almost certain that arteriosclerosis is getting worse with aging, symptoms such as leg pains are less painful. This is because the other arteries, which supply the legs with blood, often expand so much to compensate for insufficient blood supply to the diseased arteries and their branches. If you eat moderately, if you do not smoke and taking care of infection, and if you are doing moderate physical activity, you will probably delay or perhaps even prevent complications.