Atherosclerosis (Patient Counselling Guide)
05 Jun 2020
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material or plaques collect and build along the walls of the arteries and eventually block the blood flow to the different parts of the body. Reduced oxygen and nutrient supply occurs with the decrease in blood flow, which can result in tissue and organ damage. This decrease in blood flow can lead to serious problems, including coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or even death. Although the exact cause of atherosclerosis is yet to be known, studies show that this disease may start in childhood and tends to hasten with age. Smoking, high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels (as in diabetes) are just some of the risk factors which can damage the inner layer of the arteries (called the endothelium). Damage to the endothelium would trigger deposition of fats, cholesterol, platelets, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances into the walls of the arteries. This chain of events would further stimulate the arterial wall cells to produce other substances which will result in increase plaque accumulation and consequently, narrowing of the arterial diameter and decrease in blood flow. Atherosclerosis usually does not exhibit any signs and symptoms until it totally narrows or blocks the artery. Unfortunately, this disease would only be known to the patient only after experiencing a medical emergency, eg, a heart attack or stroke. Thus, it is important to identify risk factors early on and make the necessary lifestyle changes, especially for patients who are obese, smokers, those diagnosed with hypertension, those diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, and those with a personal and family history of heart disease.
* Click below to view Patient Counselling Guide in Thai