Arteriosclerosis – Diagnosis and treatment

Arteriosclerosis –
Diagnosis and treatment

Arteriosclerosis, the technical term for arterial calcification or arterial stiffness is a systemic disease of the arteries, which leads to deposits of blood fats, clots, connective tissue as well as calcium deposits in the vessel walls in smaller quantities.

Arteriosclerosis develops over time and often over decades without symptoms until it manifests itself through ischaemia, thrombosis, angina pectoris, heart attacks, strokes or sudden cardiac death. These consequences of arteriosclerosis are now the most common causes of death in western industrial nations.

Arteriosclerosis literally translates as the connective tissue hardening of arteries. Connective tissue proliferation, intra and extracellular storage of cholesterol, fatty acids and calcification as well as accumulations of collagen and proteoglykanes lead to the hardening and thickening of the vessel walls, which are associated with the decreasing elasticity of vessel walls and also normally lead to the constriction of vessels.

As arterial stiffness progresses for a long time without noticeable symptoms, early diagnosis is only likely in the context of through medical check-ups.

Late diagnosis often results from treatment through more or less invasive surgical procedures, such as bypass operations on the heart or legs, thrombo-endarteriectomy of the leg or carotid artery or expansion by means of balloon dilatation or stent.

In the early stages, the treatment is medicinal, primarily with medication to reduce high blood pressure, to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides as well as anticoagulants.

In parallel, the patient is strongly encouraged towards a risk-reducing lifestyle: Not smoking, exercise and change of diet are an essential part of the therapy.

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