Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body, find out how to reduce risk with tips from the doctors at Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS).
Atherosclerosis (plaque buildup): How to prevent?
Atherosclerosis can be a fatal condition. It refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in or on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict blood flow. The most effective way to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis becoming fatal is to have frequent health check-ups.
“The best way to counter the degenerative effects of atherosclerosis is through early detection,” said
Clinical Associate Professor Aaron Wong, Head and Senior Consultant from the
Department of Cardiology,
National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the
To keep heart disease at bay, adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes:
Stop smoking (if you are a smoker)
Adopt a healthy diet
Maintain a healthy weight
"This will not only protect you against heart disease, but also prevents a host of other health problems,” added Dr Wong.
It's not just the heart, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) can occur in other parts of the body
Atherosclerosis can occur in any artery in the body:
1. Peripheral arteries (arms and legs)
These are arteries in the arms and legs. Blockages in leg arteries may cause pain in the legs when walking. If the pain is bearable, the doctor may advise the patient to keep on walking through the pain, to encourage the body’s coping mechanism to build capillaries around the blockage. Limb artery blockages cause poor healing of wounds in patients with diabetes, and opening up such arteries with stents or surgery may prevent limbs from being amputated.
2. Carotid arteries (neck)
The carotid arteries, which are located along the sides of the neck, supply oxygen to the brain. When blockages develop in these arteries, a stroke may occur. A blockage here can sometimes be detected by putting a stethoscope to a carotid artery to listen for a whistling sound with every heart pulsation.
3. Renal arteries (kidney)
Atherosclerosis in these arteries, which supply blood to the kidneys, causes a gradual loss of kidney function. It can lead to uncontrolled high blood pressure and kidney failure.
See page one to learn
how build-up of plaque can lead to a heart attack.
See page two to learn
how is atheroclerosis treated.
Check out other articles on heart health:
Tips for a Healthy Heart
Sudden Chest Pains You Shouldn't Ignore
Heart Palpitations: When Are They Serious?
How a Viral Infection Can Affect the Heart
How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone