Prognosis of Atherosclerosis

By  , Expert Content
Apr 05, 2012

Atherosclerosis is dangerous because it starts gradually and damages the arteries for years before you become aware of it. It generally starts in young adults (about age of 20), but it generally does not cause symptoms until middle or old age. The build-up of plaque in the arteries occurs over many years. Any artery in the body can be affected. In fact, there is no organ system where atherosclerosis can't reach.

Heart attacks and strokes are some complications of atherosclerosis that cause thousands of deaths each year. It, however, can cause many other diseases such as weakness or pain in arms or legs, loss of hair in affected areas, ulcers or loss of limb, kidney failure, blindness and even impotence.

There is no cure for atherosclerosis, but it can be delayed and in people with atherosclerosis, it can be reversed and the complications can be prevented. The most critical step to improve the prognosis of atherosclerotic related diseases is to make lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes needed to prevent or delay atherosclerosis and improve prognosis in people with atherosclerosis include:

  • Being at healthy weight: If you are obese or overweight, weight loss is essential to control blood cholesterol levels and prevent progression of atherosclerosis. Being obese increases the risk of atherosclerosis and related cardiovascular diseases.
  • Eating healthy: Eating healthy i.e. a diet which includes 6-8 servings of bread, cereal, or rice, 2-4 servings of fresh fruit, 3-5 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables, 2-3 servings of non-fat milk, yogurt or cheese and 2-3 servings of lean meat, poultry, fish or dry beans and limits foods rich in fat, processed foods, fried foods, high salt foods, refined grains and simple sugars can control atherosclerosis.
  • Staying physically active: Exercising regularly not only improves your overall health but also lowers the risk of many diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and diabetes. Any exercise (walking, swimming, biking or aerobics) for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week is considered enough to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Limit consumption of alcohol and quit smoking

If you have risk factors for atherosclerosis such as family history of atherosclerosis, high blood levels of LDL cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking and alcohol consumption, you are obese/overweight, regular follow up with your doctor and going for recommended tests can help detect atherosclerosis in its early stages. This allows for the start of treatment as early as possible to prevent the most serious complications of the disorder.


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