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Having atherosclerosis (say "ath-uh-roh-skluh-ROH-sis") of the aorta means that a material called plaque (fat and calcium) has built up in the inside wall of a large blood vessel called the aorta. This plaque buildup is sometimes called "hardening of the arteries."
The aorta is the main artery that sends oxygen-rich blood from the heart out to the body and to the brain. It runs from your heart down through your stomach area.
When plaque builds up, it can cause problems:
So even if you have no symptoms, having this disease makes you more likely to have serious problems such as:
Atherosclerosis of the aorta can be treated with lifestyle changes and medicines that help lower your risk of serious complications. These medicines include:
You may also get a CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan to check the health of your aorta.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: January 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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