Arteritis: The causes

The cause of arteritis is multifactorial. The arteries gradually shrink due to atheroma deposits (blood, fibrous tissue, fat, calcareous deposits), which cause the arterial walls to thicken, to obstruct. This leads to a decrease in the blood supply to the arteries of the lower limbs.

The number one risk factor is tobacco: 85% of people with arteritis are or have been smokers. Cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, overweight and heredity are also risk factors. If there are previous cases of arteritis in the family, a person will be more likely to develop this pathology.

Taking the birth control pill, however, is not a risk factor for lower extremity arteritis. The pill can cause vascular accidents in women with certain risk factors, but they are triggered by a completely different mechanism.

Obstructive arteriopathy of the lower limbs (AOMI) can be associated, in 60% of the cases, with a poly-vascular involvement. The patient may, in fact, have lesions affecting the coronary arteries, carotid arteries, cerebral arteries. Severe narrowing of these arteries can cause a stroke or myocardial infarction (depending on the affected artery).

When there is arteritis in the legs, the doctor will look for any other potential locations of the disease, even when the disease is at its beginning.
If left untreated, arteritis causes occlusion of the arteries that can result in gangrene or even limb amputation.

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