Arteriosclerosis refers to a thickening and hardening of arteries. Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of medium or large arteries (from the Greek αρτηρία, meaning artery, and σκληρωτικός, meaning hardened). It should not be confused with "atherosclerosis," which is a specific form of arteriosclerosis caused by the build up of fatty plaques in the artery. Arteriosclerosis has also been called "myoconditis," but this term is no longer in general use.
- Arteriosclerosis obliterans is typically seen in medium and large arteries of the lower extremity. Characterized by fibrosis of the intima and calcification of the media. The lumen of the vessel may be obliterated or markedly narrowed.
- Medial calcific sclerosis (Monckeberg’s calcific sclerosis) is seen mostly in the elderly, commonly in arteries of the extremities. Characterized by calcification of the Tunica media but without thickening of the intima or narrowing of the vessel lumen. A similar form of an intramural calcification, presenting the picture of an early phase of arteriosclerosis, appears to be induced by a number of drugs that have an antiproliferative mechanism of action.
The origin of the arteriosclerotic lesion could be the endothelial dissemination. It is estimated that some tissue disorders may be initiation factors, combined with risk factors such as hypertension, promote more frequent occurrence of arteriosclerosis in some groups of individuals.
There is no medical treatment for atherosclerosis shown although more likely the drug being sought by the pharmaceutical industry. Drug therapy (antihyperlipidemic, antiplatelet or anticoagulant) serves to decrease its causes or its consequences. Surgical treatment is very resolute in ischemic heart disease and in other locations. Prophylactic treatment is to avoid the predisposing factors of the disease and complications of this: obesity, hypertension, sedentary lifestyle, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, etc..
Researchers in China found that reishi improves blood flow and low oxygen consumption of the heart muscle. Similar results were also found by Japanese scientists, who showed that reishi contains ganoderic acid, which lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and inhibits platelet aggregation, which can lead to heart attack and other circulatory problems. Russian scientists have recently taken an interest in Reishi. They found that in addition to the cardiovascular benefits mentioned above, reishi has a significant preventive and therapeutic action against the construction of atheromatous plaques (the "plaque" is a kind of greasy rubber formed by the combination of oxidized cholesterol, calcium and WBC degenerate, is deposited on the walls of the arteries and restricts blood flow by narrowing the passage within arteries resulting in arteriosclerosis).