According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases kill more people than any other disease including cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. In 2012, every third out of ten deaths around the world was due to cardiovascular disease. In the developed countries, the prevalence of deaths due to complications involving the arteries is even higher. And if the trend will continue, things will get even worse.
The good news is that the leading health organisations and experts recognised the magnitude of the problem and started to push for more awareness raising campaigns to educate the public about the importance of arterial health as well as steps every person can take to keep their arteries healthy and strong.
Health Problems and Conditions Involving the Arteries
Some of the most common (and dangerous too!) health problems and conditions involving the arteries include:
Atherosclerosis. This condition is characterised by the accumulation of cholesterol into the so-called plaques that stick on the arteries’ walls.
Stenosis of the arteries. This is a medical term for narrowing of the arteries, usually due to atherosclerosis.
Arteritis. Also known as vasculitis, arteritits is an inflammation of the arteries’ lining. It is most often caused by an immune system disorder or infection.
Arterial thrombosis. A medical expression for blood clot blocking the blood flow. It’s a medial emergency requiring immediate treatment.
Coronary artery disease. A potentially life-threatening atherosclerosis causing narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart.
Myocardial infarction. Better known as heart attack, myocardial infarction occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood flow to the heart.
Peripheral artery disease. Narrowing of the arteries in the groin or legs that is caused by atherosclerosis.
Cerebrovascular accident. Also known as stroke, cerebrovascular accident occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood flow to the brain or by bursting of an artery in the brain.
Treatment and Prevention of Health Problems and Conditions Involving the Arteries
Treatment of the above mentioned and other health problems and conditions involving the arteries depends greatly on the type of health problem in question, its severity and some other factors including the patient’s overall health, age, medications used, etc. But it usually involves taking medications and possibly a surgery, both of which are always combined with lifestyle changes that also include dietary changes. These are based on the avoidance of high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar foods, and emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, etc.
The same lifestyle changes, which besides the mentioned eating plan also include regular exercise and smoking cessation, are also recommended for prevention of arterial problems. Also, it is of utmost importance to maintain a healthy body weight and control conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes as they increase the risk of conditions and diseases affecting the arteries.