Among several serious health conditions and diseases, atherosclerosis is a contagious condition that affects the heart, specifically the arteries in your body. Many people have encountered the struggle of atherosclerosis and had miserable times. The purpose of the following article is to educate and provide you with the necessary understanding of the condition, how it affects people, and what causes it.
To define atherosclerosis in simple terms, it is the hardening or thinning of your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that perform the major functions of carrying nutrients and oxygen to your heart and other organs, as well as tissues. These getting piled up due to the narrowing turns out to be a major problem. Let’s see what causes this major issue:
- Cholesterol: Although there is cholesterol within our body, both good and bad, HDL is the good one, and LDL is the bad. Too much LDL in the blood could pile up in the human artery walls to contribute to the issue.
- Plaque: These piled-up LDL present in the arteries mix with calcium, fat, and cellular waste, forming a stuff named plaque.
- Inflammation: As a defense mechanism, the body sends inflammation as a response, but in this case, the inflammation caused will rupture the plaque, leading to higher risks.
These are the major issues caused within the body or arteries that make the person encounter various health issues. Let’s look at the major suspects behind this condition from the outside, both physically and mentally.
Causes Of Atherosclerosis
- High Blood Pressure: spikes in blood pressure without a doubt can damage the artery walls, creating space for cholesterol and others to get in.
- Smoking: This habit is something one can put an end to or put under control. Smoking is the leading cause of several lifestyle diseases and health conditions. When it comes to atherosclerosis, the habit of smoking can reduce the amount of HDL cholesterol while also damaging the blood vessels, making way for plaque.
- Diabetes: If you are someone who suffers from diabetes or is on the way to having high levels of sugar in your blood, it can also contribute to the chances of getting atherosclerosis.
- Obesity: Addition weight gain eventually puts you in obesity according to the Body Mass Index (BMI), especially belly fat or around your waist, which could increase cholesterol, which is not good for boys. It also lowers the amount of necessary cholesterol.
- Unhealthy Diet: A diet including processed and fried foods adds saturated and trans-fat refined sugars and excess salt, contributing to the above-mentioned obesity. A diet loaded with saturated and trans fats, refined sugars, and excess salt can contribute to high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis.
- Lack of Exercise: No physical activity could be a huge reason why fat is not being burned out. Lack of proper exercise or cardio increases both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Aging: It’s no surprise that as you get older, the arteries become less efficient, making you more susceptible to atherosclerosis.
- Gender Matters: The condition affects each gender differently, as men get affected way younger than women, but women are likely to receive similar risks postmenopause.
- Infections: Viral or bacterial infections might play a part in atherosclerosis. The experts are still studying it to explore more about the scenario.
Prevention Tips For Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a condition that is quiet, and it’s hard to find out whether you are affected until you encounter a stroke or heart attack. Hence, it is always advised to look out for risk factors and make necessary precautions and healthy choices. Here is what you can do to prevent or take care of yourself:
- Eat Healthy: We are what we eat is not just a random statement; following a strict and balanced diet and opting for foods rich in nutrients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins are recommended.
- Exercise Regularly: Take part in effective cardio or high-intensity workouts for not less than an hour. It burns fat and keeps your body fit and healthy.
- Quit Smoking: There is no bigger advice than this on the list, as quitting smoking is the biggest step you can take to stay healthy and take care of yourself in many ways, especially your heart.
- Manage Stress: Stress causes the release of stress hormones, causing atherosclerosis, and managing stress through meditation or yoga is a great practice.
- Check Your Numbers: Regularly check your blood pressure and other numbers and conditions of your body with a healthcare professional to manage them properly and receive guidelines.
- Medications: Your doctors might prescribe some medications tailored to you for lowering unnecessary cholesterol and managing other threats.
In summary, atherosclerosis is the plaque that gets piled up in the arteries of your heart due to the increase in unnecessary cholesterol and other elements. With a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise as well as regular check-ups, you can reduce the risks and make way for a better life.