Atherosclerosis vs Arteriosclerosis – What Is The Difference?
While sometimes used interchangeably, the terms of atherosclerosis vs arteriosclerosis are different things. However, both of them can be very serious and can even lead to a necessity for heart surgery. Additionally, one is preventable to a certain extent, and the other less so. So, what are the big differences between atherosclerosis vs arteriosclerosis, and additionally, how are they the same?
Well, the primary similarity between the two is restricting the flow of blood. Your blood circulates throughout your body, and is necessary for every single physical function housed therein. As such, anything that inhibits this process can be very dangerous. Certain areas of the body plagued with these conditions can be even more dangerous or life threatening. For instance, a condition known as atherosclerosis of aorta is a very serious one involving the main artery that services the heart. Another example is cerebral atherosclerosis involves arteries of the brain. Both conditions are serious, but can be even more so when the affect arteries that service major organs.
One of the big differences in the atherosclerosis vs arteriosclerosis separation is mechanism of action. For instance, atherosclerosis involves a build up on the walls of your arteries. Fats, cholesterol or plaque in arteries are similar to when your pipes get clogged at home. Think of the fat and cholesterol as hair or dirt, and think about how it affects your water as it drains. Over time, your arteries are less effective at circulating blood through your body, just the same way that a clogged drain is less efficient at draining your bathtub. In addition, areas of plaque buildup can actually burst. This can lead to a blood clot, which can be very serious. The good news is that many atherosclerosis causes are preventable, and you can make many lifestyle changes that will help your body with unclogging arteries, serving as sort of a biological Draino. Stopping smoking, making healthy dietary changes and exercising can all prevent and help treat this condition.
On the flip side of the atherosclerosis vs arteriosclerosis conundrum is the condition that involves a literal hardening of the arteries. In order to be effective blood highways, your arteries need to be elastic and healthy. In arteriosclerosis, pressure and other causes can create thickening in the artery walls, robbing them of their elasticity and flexibility. This hardening and thickening also restricts the flow of blood and can lead to major health problems.
The atherosclerosis vs arteriosclerosis terminology puzzle may seem confusing, however good overall health and elimination of risk factors are the key to prevention of either condition. If you are at risk for either due to family health history, diabetes, smoking, or high blood pressure, elimination of these risk factors, along with other healthful dietetic and lifestyle habits and preventative care with your healthcare provider, including periodic cholesterol tests after a certain age, will keep your arteries free and flowing for years to come!