Atherosclerosis
and
Baby Boomers

Atherosclerosis is a serious medical condition that underlies the vast majority of cardio-vascular health problems we Baby Boomers will have to deal with.

Understanding this condition will help give you a better chance of dealing with Coronary Heart Disease (angina, Heart Attacks, Carotid Artery Disease Stroke, peripheral artery disease (poor blood circulation in your legs) and even chronic kidney disease (a gradual loss of kidney function).

What is this and what causes it?

You've probably heard of "hardening of the arteries", haven't you? Well, Boomer, that's a good description of atherosclerosis! Sclerosis (hardening) arterio- (arteries).

Over the years, patchy deposits of fatty material have developed in the walls of your arteries (atheromas or atherosclerotic plaques) which lead to either reduced or blocked blood flow to some of your organs and/or other areas of your body. The particular diseases that develop are determined by which arteries are affected.

The development of this condition is strongly linked to the level of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Which in turn in depends on your diet and genetics.

This condition is much more common in the United States and northern Europe than say in developing countries such as in Africa and Asia because western countries tend to have a lot more fat in their diets.

This video will give you a better understanding of the plaques that cause this condition.



What are its symptoms?

Because it develops slowly over your lifetime, atherosclerosis is usually not diagnosed until after one of its associated diseases are diagnosed or lab tests reveal that you are at high risk for it!

Some of the symptoms that show up later in life are chest pains (angina), heart attacks, strokes and severe leg cramps (intermittent claudication).

In the US, autopsies of young men who have died in auto accidents have revealed that almost all of them have some atheromas in their arteries while autopsies on middle-aged people have found many to have widespread evidence of this condition.

What are the risk factors for this killer of Baby Boomers?Controllable/Modifiable

  • Smoking
  • High Cholesterol levels
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Limited physical activity
  • High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid)

Non-Controllable/Non-modifiable

  • Your genetics
  • Ageing
  • Being a man (Although women are at risk, men run a higher risk)

This video is an excellent summary about this killer of Baby Boomers



What can a Baby Boomer do to help yourself minimize atherosclerosis' effects?

  1. Visit your doctor and having an exam and blood tests at least once a year. (More frequently if recommended by your doctor.)
  2. Follow your doctor's advice.
  3. Work on modifying your lifestyle to lesson your controllable risk factors.

Where to go now?

Return to Heart Disease

Return to Baby Boomers Health Issues

Return from Atherosclerosis to Home

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