Arteriosclerosis‚ the quiet beginning
Arteriosclerosis is the most common disease in Europe and is also the most common cause of death. Disorders of the arterial circulation are the consequence of arteriosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries. Following slight damage to the arterial wall a process involving immune cells is initiated which can lead to deposits of cholesterol, blood platelets and calcareous material (arteriosclerotic plaques).
If the inflammatory process is not stopped, the deposits advance further into the arteries. This results in the walls of the sclerosed arteries becoming inreasingly thicker and narrowing of the vessels. These degenerative processes in the arterial wall start in young people (between the ages of twenty and thirty!) and become more pronounced with advancing age.
This process results in circulatory disorders which lead to vital organs receiving only an inadequate supply of oxygen and energy. Depending on which organ is affected, arteriosclerosis can then be manifested as lack of concentration, forgetfulness, angina pectoris or occlusive disease of the legs (intermittent claudication, smoker's leg). In the final analysis, all these diseases result from a chronic inflammation of the arterial wall that has run out of control.