Arteries are the major blood vessels, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the various organs of the human body. Each artery is basically a soft arterial tube lined with smooth tissue and also has three layers: The internal layer, the middle layer, and the outer layer. The thickness of the arteries is based on several factors including: the elasticity or tensile strength of the tissue covering the arterial walls, the degree of cholesterol concentration in the arterial walls, the amount of pressure exerted on the walls, and the activity of the heart. The degree of the elasticity and the content of the arterial wall determines how well the arteries perform their function.
Besides the mechanical function of the arteries, the primary purpose of these blood vessels is to provide oxygen to the brain and to other vital organs of the body so as to maintain normal brain, body, and physiological functions. Although most people think of arteries as visible, it is actually the arterioles that carry the oxygenated blood away from the tissues and to the lungs. The nerves, or arterioles, that are located in the cerebral spinal cord and the nerves that control facial movements and other autonomic processes are called the peripheral arteries. These arteries support various parts of the body such as the eyes, nose, throat, toes, hands, and legs. Aside from the mechanical function of the arteries, they also help in the blood flow through the arteries by providing the cushioning action necessary for their smooth passage through narrow arterioles.
Some conditions can cause narrowing of the arteries such as carotid artery narrowing, atherosclerosis, and even fibrin clogging. When the carotid artery narrows, it causes a decrease in the blood flow and sensation to the brain. In addition, atherosclerosis is a condition wherein the inner lining of the arteries is replaced by hard plaque. This plaque, together with the fatty deposits, thickens the walls of the arteries and makes it hard for the blood to pass through it. Lastly, fibrin clotting can occur if the plaques and fatty deposits do not get dislodging and flushed out of the arteries. When this happens, this causes the formation of fibrin clots that cause a gush of arterial blood flow to the head.
For those individuals who suffer from carotid artery dysfunction, preventive treatment is needed so as not to further narrow the already narrowed arteries. One way to widen the arteries is through taking daily medications such as anti-angry stress, vasodilators, nitroglycerin, and diuretics. Aside, from these medications, those who have undergone surgical procedures like carotid artery bypass surgery can also benefit from anti-depressants and vasodilators. Aside from that, those who have suffered from temporal arteritis can take medications such as aspirin and verapamil.
Treatments for carotid artery-related vasculitis usually involve a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and vasoconstrictors. However, aspirin has been proven to be more effective against both conditions. Another drug option available for those who have suffered from temporal artery disease is bromelain. As for vasculitis, a drug that can be taken daily is shown to be more effective than corticosteroids or NSAIDs.
Although not actually a cause of vasculitis, high blood pressure can increase the risk of the development of atherosclerosis in the arteries. Arteries are important for the proper flow of blood. When there are problems with the veins carrying blood to the heart, the flow of blood to the brain is impeded. As a result, the brain’s normal function is compromised and the person will more than likely suffer a stroke or a heart attack. So the prevention of hypertension and coronary heart disease should start with proper blood circulation.
If high blood pressure is the primary cause of vasculitis, it will be addressed using antihypertensive medications. The main benefit of these medications is that they are able to maintain normal blood flow to the heart and head. This prevents the arteries from being clogged by fatty deposits, plaque and other deposits that can lead to the development of arteriosclerosis. While not always effective, they are one of the most effective treatments for this condition.
When a patient develops atherosclerosis in the arteries, he or she may not be eligible for treatment. Such patients should instead focus on managing the condition to improve its severity. Surgery may be required to remove some of the plaque buildup in the arteries. Medications that lower high blood pressure can also help prevent the development of atherosclerosis in the arteries. Arteries do not always guarantee a safe trip to the hospital. But with careful management, the condition does not necessarily need to take one’s life.