Risk factors for arterial sclerosis


The development of arteriosclerosis is conditioned by various factors and is therefore multifactorial to describe. Some of these risks cannot be influenced by yourself, such as age, family history or very specific lipid metabolism disorders, which can also be hereditary.

Most of the risks can, however, be significantly influenced by your own behavior. Lifestyle plays an absolutely essential role. E.g. by quitting smoking, moderate physical exercise, stress reduction and optimal treatment of existing diseases the prognosis will be massively improved and the progression slowed down.

These are the main risk factors

  • Smoke

  • Diabetes mellitus (Diabetes)

  • Arterial hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Hyperlipoproteinemia (increased blood lipids)

  • Age (men from 45 years; women from 55 years)

  • Obesity (Obesity)

  • Family history (early heart attacks / strokes in first-degree relatives)

  • Hyperhomocysteinemia (increased blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine)

You might also be interested in: How can you prevent arteriosclerosis?

Overweight as a risk factor

By definition, overweight exists from a BMI (body mass index) of over 25 kg / m², with what is known as obesity (obesity) starting from a BMI of over 30 kg / m². Since the BMI is only of limited significance depending on the composition of the body, the waist circumference can also be measured.

In particular, excess weight in the area of ​​the trunk (belly fat) should be avoided or reduced. This is especially considered a risk factor for arteriosclerosis. Nutritional advice, for example through your family doctor's practice, can help you lose weight.

Find out more about the topic here:

  • Healthy eating
  • The diet in atherosclerosis

Risk factor high blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for both the development and the progression of arteriosclerosis. High blood pressure is also considered to be a high risk for all related secondary diseases such as Strokes, heart attacks, peripheral arterial disease Etc.

An optimal setting of the blood pressure is essential to avoid the consequences of arteriosclerosis. Depending on the severity, this can be achieved with the help of a change in lifestyle and / or medication.

You might also be interested in: Therapy of high blood pressure

Risk factor diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus causes permanent and lasting damage to both the small and large vessels due to increased blood sugar levels.
In 80% of diabetics, arteriosclerotic diseases are the cause of death. Therefore, the blood sugar should be controlled well so that long-term damage is avoided or at least minimized. In the case of type II diabetes mellitus, this can be achieved if the patient cooperates sufficiently with the help of increased exercise and a change in diet. If this is not enough, medication can be used with tablets and / or insulin preparations.

More information can be found here: Therapy of diabetes

Smoking risk factor

Smoking is one of the main risk factors for arteriosclerosis and damages the blood vessels in many ways.
Who e.g. Smokes 10 cigarettes a day as a man has a 20% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or vascular disease. Women even have a 30% higher risk. Since quitting smoking is not easy, there are numerous support programs available for your GP to advise on.

Find out more about the topic here: Quit Smoking - But How?

Risk factor stress

Stress is also a recognized, important risk factor for the development and progression of arteriosclerosis.
A reduction is essential. Since this is difficult in many cases, there are various offers from which to choose. An example is autogenic training (certain relaxation techniques) or yoga.

Read also: How can you reduce stress?

Risk factor increased blood lipid levels

Elevated levels of blood lipids are an important risk factor, with the combination of an excessively high LDL level (“bad” cholesterol) and an excessively low HDL (“good” cholesterol) having a negative influence. How much one should lower the LDL depends on the underlying illnesses the patient has and the individual risk of secondary illnesses.
Values ​​that are too high for so-called triglycerides (neutral fats) are also unfavorable with regard to arteriosclerosis. The so-called lipoprotein A is also part of blood lipids and its structure is similar to LDL cholesterol. An increase is also associated with an increased risk of secondary diseases of arteriosclerosis.

More information can be found here:

  • Diet for high cholesterol levels
  • Lipid metabolism disorders

Risk factor gout

Gout occurs when an increased level of uric acid in the blood causes symptoms (pain, inflammation) due to deposits in the joints.
Like many other rheumatic diseases, gout is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and vascular diseases.

Find out more about the topic here:

  • Therapy of gout
  • Diet for gout

Risk factor hyperhomocysteinemia

Hyperhomocysteinemia is an elevated level of the amino acid Homocysteine in blood.
An increase can on the one hand through genetic changes and thus e.g. slowed degradation can be triggered. However, a lifestyle also leads to increased alcohol consumption, smoking and a lack of exercise etc. to this increase. This increased value is associated with an increased risk of the secondary diseases of arteriosclerosis.

Risk factor hormonal factors

Due to the higher estrogen level, women have certain advantages in the development of arteriosclerosis. Men are affected earlier and more frequently. However, women are at increased risk again during and after the menopause due to the drop in estrogen levels.

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