Arteriosclerosis is a pathology very unknown among the population, but it is related to almost 1 of every 2 deaths that occur annually in Spain. It is a disease of the blood vessels produced by an accumulation of fats in the wall of the arteries. Early detection and prevention are basic. In the absence of knowledge and erroneous messages, the Spanish Society of Arteriosclerosis warns about the five false myths and topics of this pathology
Arteriosclerosis is a disease of the blood vessels caused by an accumulation of fat in the wall of the arteries, which makes the blood circulate with greater difficulty and increases the risk of causing obstructions.
It is the cause of such serious and prevalent pathologies as myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents, hence the importance of taking care of our arteries.
As it is a serious and “silent” disease, it is essential to spread its knowledge among the general population, as well as to provide adequate guidelines for its prevention.
Aware that at this time there are many misunderstandings as to what it is, how it is prevented and how arteriosclerosis is treated, professionals of the Spanish Society of Arteriosclerosis ( SEA ) has decided to clarify some basic questions about the pathology and disprove some topics.
Five erroneous messages about arteriosclerosis
1. Cholesterol is just a matter of figures
False. For a better medical assessment of cholesterol levels and the rest of the lipid profile (triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol) should be taken into account the different risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, family history of suffering heart problems, etc.).
A single figure of isolated cholesterol contributes little; the doctor should assess the vascular risk globally in patients affected by the increase in cholesterol.
2. Arteriosclerosis is a disease that affects only the elderly
False. Currently, a high percentage of the population has cardiovascular risk factors that favor the appearance of arteriosclerosis at a younger age (40-50 years)than was usual in the past. Arteriosclerosis can be detected by means of non-invasive diagnostic tests before the symptoms appear or they cause complications such as myocardial infarction.
3. Women and men should not be cared for in the same way to reduce cardiovascular diseases related to cholesterol increase
False. According to recent studies, in Spain, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 24.6% of deaths in men, and 22.5% in women; Therefore, we believe that cardiovascular care should be evaluated in the same way in both men and women from an early age.
4. It is not safe to reduce cholesterol to very low levels, it goes against cardiovascular safety
False. According to the latest scientific research, it is safe to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels to levels of less than 10 mg/dl in patients who have already suffered cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, stroke or artery disease. lower extremities, through a pharmacological treatment without adverse effects from a cardiovascular or cerebrovascular point of view.
5. The Mediterranean diet is limited to olive oil and fish, is expensive and impossible to follow and does not reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis
False. It is important to know that the Mediterranean diet is based on a high consumption of various products: unrefined cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, low consumption of meat, low consumption of dairy products, as well as olive oil and fish, mainly.
The Mediterranean diet, bastion of the heart-healthy diet of many European countries, prevent cardiovascular diseases. A prevention that must be accompanied by other measures of heart-healthy lifestyles, such as maintaining a physical activity appropriate to the conditions of each person.