Arteriosclerosis...Arterio meaning artery and Sclerosis meaning hardening is characterized by a loss of flexibility in the wall of the vessel.

Arteries are blood vessels...some large in diameter like the Aorta...about 36mm...some are small like coronary arteries...about 2 or 3mm, while others called Arterioles are even Smaller than that at 1mm or less.

Arteries carry oxygen and important nutrients contained in your blood to your body in the same way as pipes might carry water. Without this intricate labyrinth of 'plumbing' your vital organs could not operate effectively.

Nutrition that enables you to keep well and provides the raw materials necessary to operate, repair and regenerate your body will have difficulty reaching their destination effectively if they are required to flow down a defective network of arteries. poor health and degenerative disease will follow in time. You need flexible and obstruction free 'pipework' to stay healthy.

While you may be more familiar with the term Atherosclerosis to describe a 'blocking' or 'clogging' disease process that affects the arterial system, arterio-sclerosis is a general and perhaps less specific term that describes a loss of elasticity in the arterial system while those very small arteries called arterioles have their own term for this process called Arteriolosclerosis.

Hardening of the arteries can occur due to...

  • Accumulation of fatty deposits (containing excess cholesterol) on the inner lining (intima) of arteries. This is atherosclerosis
  • Calcification of the wall of the arteries...often associated with advancing age, but actually due to such factors as lifetime dietary habits, environmental toxicity and the resulting free radical oxidative stress.
  • Thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure that is long-term (chronic), causes constant injury to the lining of the artery and the healing process results in the formation of fibrotic, thickened tissue...this is a bit like what happens when you cut yourself and the skin that grows back is not exactly the same as the original tissue (scar tissue).

Over time, this can cause the delicate tissue of your arterial system to become more and more rigid...making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood through your system, thus putting a strain on your left ventricle (hearts main pumping chamber) and raising your systemic blood pressure even further...causing yet more damage to the arterial tissue...a vicious cycle.

Let's clarify these terms

  • Arteriosclerosis: Arterial wall hardening and loss of elasticity
  • Atherosclerosis: Arterial wall thickening and plaque formation
    due to fatty deposits
  • Arteriolosclerosis: Arteriole (tiny arteries) wall hardening and
    loss of elasticity

It is actually possible to have sclerosis of your arteries (wall hardening) while you may not have atherosclerosis (fatty deposits and plaque)..however, if you have advanced atherosclerosis then you will also have arteriosclerosis...and it's very common for people with chronic arterial disease to have both of these conditions.

Click Here to go from Arteriosclerosis to Coronary Heart Health Home Page

Click Here to go from Arteriosclerosis to Causes of Coronary Heart Disease

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