Atherosclerosis is a disease where plaque builds up inside large and medium sized arteries anywhere in the body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances found in the blood. Over time plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This in turn limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and to other parts of your body and can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke or even death.
Atherosclerosis usually does not show signs or symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don't know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency like a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in any area of the body, with the result that different diseases may develop based on which arteries of the body are affected.
The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. If plaque narrows or blocks these arteries you may have symptons of Angina. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina feels like pressure or squeezing in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain can sometimes feel like indigestion. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain.
The carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. If plaque narrows or blocks these arteries you may have symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms may include:
Plaque also can build up in the major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the legs, arms, and pelvis. If these major arteries are narrowed or blocked, you may have numbness, pain, and, sometimes, dangerous infections.
The renal arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys. If plaque builds up in these arteries, you may develop Chronic Kidney disease. Over a period of time chronic kidney disease causes a slow loss of kidney function. Early kidney disease often has no signs or symptoms. As the disease gets worse it can cause tiredness, changes in how you urinate (more often or less often), loss of appetite, nausea (feeling sick to the stomach), swelling in the hands or feet, itchiness or numbness, and trouble concentrating.
The cause of atherosclerosis isn't known. You can control some risk factors, smoking, physical exercise, blood pressure and unhealthy diet. Unfortunately others you can't control, such as age and a family history of heart disease. Some people who have atherosclerosis have no signs or symptoms. They may not be diagnosed until after a heart attack or stroke.
The main treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle changes. You also may need medical care. Making lifestyle changes and getting ongoing care can help you avoid the problems of atherosclerosis and live a longer, healthy life.
The benefits of health screening can be felt by both the employer and the employee alike. Health screening is an effective way of increasing employee morale, and leads to reduced sickness and levels of absenteeism.
Smoking Cessation Programmes, Carbon Monoxide Lung Analysis, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment, Alcohol Awareness/Risk Assessment, Spirometry, Celiac Testing, Weight and Stress Management.