Arteries are blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are elastic, flexible and strong. Over time, however, too much pressure in your arteries can make the walls of your arteries thick and stiff. Sometimes this restricts blood flow to your tissues and organs. This process is called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
The two terms arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are often used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis, however, is a specific type of arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of an artery due specifically because of the buildup of plaque.
There is a third term that is similar in spelling, yet distinct in both spelling and meaning. Arteriolosclerosis refers to a hardening of arterioles (small arteries), while arteriosclerosis refers to a hardening of medium and large arteries.
Atherosclerosis can affect arteries in any part of your body, even though it is usually considered to be a heart problem. When it affects arteries going to your limbs you may have circulation problems in your legs and arms called peripheral arterial disease. When atherosclerosis affects arteries that supply blood to your brain, you could have a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). If the arteries of your heart are affected, you may have angina, heart attack or coronary artery disease. Atherosclerosis can also cause a bulge in the wall of your artery. This is called an aneurysm.
Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis is a gradual process. You do not usually experience any effects until your artery becomes so clogged or narrowed that it cannot supply an adequate amount of blood to your tissues and organs.
Specific ways that arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis can affect you depend on which of your arteries are affected. If it affects:
Arteries in your arms and legs You may experience signs and symptoms of peripheral arterial disease like leg pain when you are walking.
Heart arteries You may have symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain.
Arteries supplying blood to your brain You may experience signs of a stroke, such as dizziness, numbness and weakness.
Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis may also cause erectile dysfunction in men.
The effects caused by this condition may be keeping you or a loved one from working. Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis may be the reason for your disability.
If this is true, you or your loved one may need help. You may need financial assistance.
Have you or your loved one applied for financial assistance from the Social Security Administration by applying for Social Security disability benefits because of the disability caused by arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis? Were you or your loved one denied?
If you or your loved one is planning on appealing the denial by the Social Security Administration, keep this in mind. People who are represented by a disability attorney like the one you will find at disabilitycasereview.com are approved more often than those people who are without a lawyer.