Arteriosclerosis or Coronary Arteriosclerosis (also called as ‘furring or hardening of the arteries’) is a condition that is characterized by the blockage of the blood vessels in the heart.
The condition forces the blood vessels to become narrow and rigid which if not treated or controlled, can lead to serious complications like hypertension, stroke, seizures and other heart related ailments with time.
In most cases, arteriosclerosis is caused by excess deposition of fat and collagen in the arteries. Arteriosclerosis can also be caused by the formation of excess protein deposits in and around the arteries, a factor that would cause the muscles lining the arteries to thicken.
Different Arteriosclerosis Treatment Options for Individuals
Although diet and lifestyle changes can help control arteriosclerosis to an extent, severe cases of the condition would have to be treated medically or surgically. Given below are some of the medications and surgical options available to treat arteriosclerosis in individuals.
Common Drugs and Medications used for Arteriosclerosis
In certain cases, an individual with arteriosclerosis would be prescribed medications to curb the side effects of the condition. Some of the more common medications for the purpose include:
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium Channel Blockers are usually prescribed to reduce hypertension and angina, factors that increase the risks of arteriosclerosis in individuals.
Water based Diuretics
Water based Diuretics are also recommended for individuals with hypertension. These diuretics would effectively reduce the blood pressure levels and bring down the risks of arteriosclerosis to a great extent.
LDL Lowering Drugs
LDL Lowering Drugs are used to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) levels in the body by inhibiting the development of fat stores in the arteries. Some of the drugs prescribed for the same purpose include fribrates and satins etc. In addition to reducing the LDL levels, these drugs can also increase the good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) levels in the body and counteract the effects of arteriosclerosis.
Beta Blocker Drugs
Beta Blocker Drugs are usually recommended for conditions like coronary artery disease. In addition to reducing the blood pressure levels in the body, these medications can effectively stabilize irregular heartbeats, reduce chest pain and prevent heart attacks caused by arterioslcerosis.
Anti-Platelet Drugs like aspirin are usually prescribed to reduce and remove blood clots from the arteries. The drugs effectively help to prevent the accumulation of platelets in narrowed areas within the arteries, thereby preventing the formation of blood clots in these areas.
ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors
ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors are also prescribed to combat conditions like hypertension that could lead to arteriosclerosis. The drugs help reduce the blood pressure levels in the body and prevent heart attacks and other heart related diseases associated with the condition.
Surgical Treatments for Arteriosclerosis
In case medications fail to treat the problem, doctors may recommend more aggressive forms of treatment to control/treat the issue. Surgery is also recommended in cases where the symptoms of the condition are too severe or need to be handled immediately (for instance, a blockage that poses a serious threat to the heart).
Some of the more common surgical options recommended for arteriosclerosis include By-Pass Surgery is often recommended in cases where an artery carrying blood to or from the heart is blocked or too narrow to function properly.
Using either a synthetic tube (made of fabric) or a blood vessel from another part of the body, the doctor would construct a bypass that would allow the blood to ignore the blocked/narrowed artery and flow through the grafted vessel.
Angioplasty involves inserting two catheters into the narrowed artery. One of the catheters would contain a deflated balloon which is passed into the narrowed artery via the other catheter. When the balloon is inflated, the deposits lining the artery are compressed against the walls. A mesh tube is then inserted into the artery to keep it open.
Other common procedures opted for arteriosclerosis include Endarterectomy (surgery is performed on the arteries present in the neck) and Thrombolytic Therapy (use of a clot dissolving medication to treat the blockage).
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