Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a common form of heart disease in the US. It is caused by the buildup of plaque — a fatty substance — on the walls of the arteries, making them stiff and less flexible. If little bits of plaque break off, it can create clots in the bloodstream and block the flow of blood. When this happens, it may trigger a stroke or heart attack.
At Dignity Health hospitals and outpatient care clinics, our skilled cardiologists offer the latest care for people with all stages of atherosclerosis in Arizona. If you would like to request an appointment, Find a Doctor today.
The signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis may not be recognizable in the early stages of the disease. As plaque continues to build up on artery walls, symptoms may begin to appear. These may include:
To receive a diagnosis of your symptoms, meet with an experienced cardiologist at Dignity Health.
Atherosclerosis may start as early as childhood, gradually causing damage to the walls of the arteries. The main causes of atherosclerosis include:
Initially, your heart doctor at Dignity Health will often focus on preventive treatment for atherosclerosis, such as modifying your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes include a heart-healthy diet, not smoking, regular exercise, and weight loss if you are overweight or obese.
When lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may recommend medications to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, or thin your blood to prevent a blood clot from forming.
For more advanced cases of hardened arteries, doctors rely on surgical procedures, including:
Together with your doctor, you can take steps to actively prevent atherosclerosis through healthy lifestyle choices and regular visits with your doctor.
Dignity Health provides quality care to diagnose, treat, and manage all stages of atherosclerosis in Arizona.