Atherosclerosis is a condition that involves the building up of fatty material on the arterial walls. The building up of fatty materials can lead to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This condition is a progressive and silent disease that blocks the arteries over a certain period of time. The blockage is basically responsible for most strokes, peripheral vascular diseases and heart attacks.
This condition starts with high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which damages the layers of the blood vessels. It happens perniciously and most of the time, patients do not notice the severity of the diseases.
Bad cholesterol is known to be detrimental to one’s health and in this condition, it is the culprit. The amount of cholesterol gets higher over time, which reduces the flow of blood in the arteries. As the blood flow gets reduced, one experiences chest pain and leg pains after walking for a certain period. This is due to the reduced supply of blood in the muscles of the lower limb.
Though this case may appear uncommon, there are more than a million people who have atherosclerosis. That is why a lot of angioplasties are performed in the United States yearly. Angioplasty is a procedure performed for various heart related diseases, with which one of the most common is the atherosclerosis. It is a procedure used to reopen the blood vessel with the use of a wire mesh tube known as the stent. A stent is inserted in the blood vessel in order to keep it open. Basically, the procedure is simple and usually just takes about an hour to perform. However, note that the time needed to perform the procedure will also depend on the number of blocked vessels in the patient’s heart. It will also be dependent on the location of the blockages.
Angioplasty is done by having the balloon inserted in the body through the arteries in the leg or the arm. The balloon is carefully threaded through the vessels until it is able to reach the blockage. The stent is left there to keep the blood vessel clear. While the procedure requires a minimum amount of time, the patient has to stay in the hospital as an in-patient for observation for about a day or two. Observations have to be made as the stents can be blocked, too. As a foreign object is inserted in the body, chances are blood clots from the scarred tissues may cause the blockages in the stents. If this is the case, the patients have to take anti-clotting therapies for a certain period of time.
Angioplasty is a procedure that have saved the lives of many. It can help the patients avoid build-ups of blockages in the blood vessels, a very important step in preventing atherosclerosis. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, angioplasty can also help prevent stroke and heart attacks.