My name is Carlo Di Mario. I am a consultant cardiologist.
I work at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
Atherosclerosis, it's simple.
It's just an encroachment of lipids, mainly cholesterol, in the vessel wall.
These lipids tend to lead to inflammation
and this process can go two ways.
One is just a progressive thickening
of these what we call atherosclerotic plaques
that reduces the size of the lumen
and impairs blood passage.
But the worst scenario is that these lipids open up
towards the lumen of the vessel,
get in contact with blood
and the entire vessel is shut off
because a sudden thrombosis develops.
Since there is a great variety of symptoms
and severity of the disease,
the treatment is also very variable.
The vast majority of patients
fortunately simply need a better treatment
of what we call risk factors,
so a better control of their blood pressure,
of their cholesterol level, of their diabetes
and the cessation of smoking,
another very important risk factor for atherosclerosis.
There are basically two types of treatments available.
One is called coronary angioplasty
and the second is called bypass surgery.
When you have properly treated
the most severe form of atherosclerotic occlusions,
that means after an angioplasty, after a bypass operation,
if you try to avoid continuation of smoking
and you control your risk factors,
you may have a long, long period of complete wellbeing
and return to normal work activity
and to good physical exercise.