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Arteriosclerosis (Calcification of the Arteries)

Monday, June 11th 2012. | Blood Health, Blood System

Definition of Arteriosclerosis

The arteriosclerosis (arterial calcification) is defined by an alteration of the blood vessels. The vessel walls become calcified, lose their elasticity and vessel diameter narrows more and more. Therefore, blood can not flow normally.

Causes of Arteriosclerosis

The artery calcification is a natural process of aging, but younger patients may also be affected. Indeed, some risk factors can promote the formation of plaques (deposits of cholesterol, inflammatory cells and connective tissue) within the vascular walls.

Risk factors :

  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition to arteriosclerosis
  • Male
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight
  • Stress
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Depression
  • Chlamydia bacteria : recent studies have shown that chronic chlamydial¬†infections could promote atherosclerosis.

Disorders (symptoms)

  • Attacks of apoplexy
  • Angina
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Heart failure
  • Leg pain (intermittent claudication, also known as smoker’s leg)
  • In men, impotence
  • Impaired renal function

Examinations (diagnosis)

  • History taking into account the patient’s symptoms
  • Blood tests to determine cholesterol or detect diabetes mellitus.
  • Radiography with contrast (angiography, cardiac catheterization): visualization of blood vessels, mainly in the heart and legs.
  • Ultrasound


Treatment Options

The therapeutic strategy is essential to eliminate potential risk factors and treat diseases causing atherosclerosis, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels too high.

General Measures

  • Smoking cessation
  • And varied diet low in fat. Saturated fatty acids present in animal fat in meat and eggs should be avoided.
  • Weight loss if overweight
  • Substantial and regular physical activity


Anticoagulant drugs, which reduce the risk of thrombosis.

Surgical Treatment

Narrowing of the vessels can be treated with balloon dilation. However, this intervention is not always possible.

If narrowing of coronary arteries:

  • Coronary angiography to locate the narrowing, then, dilatation of the artery in question and possibly stenting.
  • Depending on the seriousness and number of affected coronary arteries (stenosis), installation of a bypass.

Possible complications

  • The evolution of the disease and its complications can be prevented by eliminating or reducing risk factors and treating diseases Drug responsible for atherosclerosis (diabetes mellitus, hypertension and high cholesterol).
  • The evolution of the disease and its complications can be prevented by eliminating or reducing risk factors and treating diseases

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