- by Dr SUNIL DWIVEDI
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- Mar 28 2017
Treatment of hardening and narrowing of the arteries-ATHEROSCLEROSIS
The best treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle changes that include eating a healthy diet and exercising. But sometimes, medication or surgical procedures may be recommended as well.
Many drugs are available these days that can slow — or sometimes even reverse — the effects of atherosclerosis. Some commonly used drugs are:
- Cholesterol medications.A range of cholesterol medications, including drugs known as statins and fibrates, are available that can aggressively lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can slow, stop or even reverse the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries. Boosting your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, may help, too.
- Anti-platelet medications.These drugs reduce the likelihood that platelets will clump in narrowed arteries, form a blood clot and cause further blockage. Main drug used for this purpose is aspirin.
- Beta blocker medications. These medications are commonly used for coronary artery disease patients to decrease their heart rate and blood pressure. They reduce the demand on your heart and often relieve symptoms of chest pain. These drugs are helpful in reducing the risk of heart attacks and heart rhythm problems.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.These drugs lower blood pressure and may help slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
- Calcium channel blockers. These medications lower blood pressure and are sometimes used to treat angina.
- Water pills (diuretics).These drugs lower blood pressure by reducing the blood volume and help in decreasing the progression of atherosclerosis.
- Other medications.If you have any other risk factor like diabetes, your doctor will prescribe medications for that.
More aggressive treatment is required sometimes.Surgical procedures are employed if you have severe symptoms or a blockage that threatens muscle or skin tissue survival. These include:
- Angioplasty and stent placement.A long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted into the blocked or narrowed part of your artery. Another tube or catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is then passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. The balloon is then inflated, compressing the deposits against your artery walls. To help the artery remain open, a mesh tube (stent) is usually left in the artery.
- Endarterectomy.Fatty deposits must be surgically removed from the walls of a narrowed artery in some cases. This procedure is generally done on arteries in the neck (the carotid arteries), and called a carotid endarterectomy.
- Thrombolytic therapy.A clot-dissolving drug may be used to break the clot if you have an artery that's blocked by a blood clot.
- Bypass surgery.It is a major surgery on heart arteries and involves creating a graft bypass using a vessel from another part of your body or a tube made of synthetic fabric. With this procedure, blood flow is maintained around the blocked or narrowed artery.
Lifestyle Measures for treatment and Prevention
Lifestyle changes can help you prevent or slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise most days of the week.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage stress.
- If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or another chronic disease, work with your doctor to manage the condition and promote overall health.
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