Last time, I talked about atherosclerosis and how it’s caused. This week I’ll be talking about different consequences that can occur due to atherosclerosis.
The first is called a myocardial infarction or MI, which is known to most people as a heart attack. Heart attacks are occur when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked for enough time that some heart muscle is damaged or dies. This can be caused by plaque that breaks off of an arterial wall and blocks the flow or by a slow buildup of plaque that eventually blocks blood flow.
A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to part of the brain is blocked. Brain cells begin to die after a few minutes without oxygen. This causes symptoms such as sudden weakness, numbness in the face, arms, and legs, slurred speech and blurry vision.
Another is CHD or coronary heart disease. This disease is atherosclerosis located in specific arteries, the coronary arteries. This can eventually lead to heart attacks or more serious conditions.
PVD or peripheral vascular disease occurs when plaque is built up in arteries anywhere in the body other than the heart or the brain. The most common plaque buildups in this disease occur in the limbs.
The last is CHF or congestive heart failure. This is the end stage of heart disease. It occurs when enough heart muscle cells die to make the heart too weak to complete the pumping action to provide blood to the rest of the body.
The main symptom of heart disease is called angina, which is pain in the chest, shoulders, or neck caused by a decreased oxygen-rich blood supply. There are two types called unstable and stable angina. Stable angina is the most common which is characterized by the regular pains in the chest, neck, or shoulders during exercise or other physical exertion. Unstable angina is less common and more dangerous which is characterized by sharp pains in the chest, neck, or shoulders that occur randomly without physical exertion. This type should be immediately treated.
To view the information presented or for more information regarding heart disease, visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov