Over time, a fatty material called plaque can build up inside of arteries. This process is called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Blood flow slows down because plaque narrows the way.
There are risk factors that increase the chance of developing plaque over time. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and taking medication can help lower this risk.
Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco all cause plaque build up in arteries. The chemicals damage the inner lining of arteries and increase the risk for atherosclerosis. Quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
High cholesterol contributes to plaque build up. Eating foods with less cholesterol and trans fats, and eating foods with more fibre can lower this risk.
High blood pressure
Hypertension puts stress on the heart, arteries and kidneys. Eating less salt, taking prescribed medications, exercising, and relieving stress can keep blood pressure in a healthy range.
High blood sugar levels can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. It is vitally important to maintain healthy sugar levels to avoid the severe consequences of uncontrolled blood sugars.
Leg Bypass Surgery
Leg bypass surgery creates a new tube for blood to flow to the leg and foot, bypassing the section of the artery that is narrow or blocked. A graft can be a vein from the leg or arm or an artificial tube.
Balloons and Stents
Balloons and stents attempt to re-open the occluded or narrowed blood vessels to re-establish flow to the leg and foot. These techniques use x-rays to see in the blood vessel and allow deployment of balloons or stents, which act as a metal scaffolding to keep the artery open. Although, much easier for a patient to tolerate, not all blocked arteries can be treated using these techniques due to how severe the blockages are and an inability to treat a vessel "from the inside." In such cases, a bypass is necessary.
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