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Here's When to Worry About Atherosclerosis

Posted on May 01, 2024

Atherosclerosis, the medical term for hardening of the arteries, increases your risk for peripheral arterial disease. But what are its causes? And when is it time to worry about atherosclerosis? Here's what you need to know.

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Causes and Symptoms of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is caused by a build up of plaque in the inner arterial lining. This could be the result of high cholesterol, high triglycerides or blood pressure (also called hypertension), smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, aging (especially if you're over 50, a diet rich in saturated fat, and obesity.

Mild atherosclerosis is unlikely to cause detectable symptoms. But the condition is progressive. And if the arteries in your arms and legs are impacted, you could develop peripheral arterial disease. Soon, you might notice changes to the appearance of your skin or leg pain when walking (claudication.)

At first, claudication may resolve with rest. However, because the disease is progressive, that pain could become more persistent. Also, more concerning symptoms could develop. And that's why you need to know when to worry about atherosclerosis.

When to Worry About Atherosclerosis

Because atherosclerosis may affect arteries leading to your heart or brain, it can quickly become a worrying condition. If you experience chest pain or pressure; pain in your shoulders, back or arms; shortness of breath; or an irregular heart beat, talk to your doctor right away. Because, if atherosclerosis is left untreated, you could be at an elevated risk for strokes. And that means that you should worry about atherosclerosis right after receiving a diagnosis. That will allow you to seek treatment early enough to avoid serious complications.

Treating PAD Caused by Atherosclerosis

At our Georgia Endovascular clinic, our interventional radiologists treat atherosclerosis to resolve PAD symptoms. And they can do so without surgery, instead providing minimally invasive procedures. The course of your treatment depends on the course of disease progression at the time of your visit to our office. But your treatment options will include angioplasty (widening a narrowed artery with a medical balloon); stenting (keeping the artery open by using a medical device known as a stent); and atherectomy (breaking up plaque deposits in the artery with the help of a catheter.)

If you’re wondering when to worry about atherosclerosis, click here to request a consultation with our interventional radiologists in Georgia. In the office, we can assess your current blood flow with the bedside Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) text. If your results are abnormal, we can then provide further imaging tests to properly assess the state of your disease progression, and provide the appropriate treatment plan

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