Atherosclerosis is a condition in which there is a deposition of fat on the inner lining of arteries. Arteries are blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
Advanced atherosclerosis leads to build up of cholesterol and calcium on the fatty layer. This leads to hardening of the artery and narrowing of the arterial diameter leading to the decreased blood supply to the organ that the artery is supplying.
It can be classified into modifiable factors and non-modifiable factors.
Atherosclerosis is a lifestyle disorder.Smoking, unhealthy highly fatty and cholesterol-laden food is the cause. Like non-vegetarian food, ice-creams, sweets, lack of exercise and physical activity can cause dyslipidemia which causes raised low-density lipoprotein which is the bad lipoprotein and low-level high-density lipoprotein (the good lipoprotein) in the blood. Herpes virus and cytomegalovirus are associated with atherosclerosis. Diabetes mellitus and Hypertension can make one more prone to atherosclerosis.
Obesity, short sleep duration, hyperthyroidism, elevated uric acid levels, elevated serum Homocysteine levels, elevated uric acid levels, elevated levels of C reactive protein in blood, stress or clinical depression, Chlamydia pneumonia infection
Aging and family history play a major role in the development of the disease. Asians and males are more prone to the disease.
The disease remains asymptomatic for a long time till the plaque causes severe distortion of the artery and compromises blood supply to the organ concerned. This can lead to heart attack, paralysis, claudication which is reduced blood supply to the extremities or even death.
Research has proven that consumption of omega-3 oils from fatty fish or plant oils such as flax or canola oils, exercising and losing weight, stopping smoking, reducing stress have been proved to decrease the incidence of the disease in the majority of the cases.