Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected and could include kidney failure or high blood pressure if arteries in the kidneys are affected, states Mayo Clinic. If arteries in the arms and legs are affected, an individual could experience leg pain while walking.
If arteries in an individual's heart are affected, a person could develop chest pain or pressure, states Mayo Clinic. Likewise, atherosclerosis in the brain could lead to slurred speech, difficulty speaking, sudden numbness in the arms or legs and drooping facial muscles. However, atherosclerosis develops gradually, and symptoms usually only develop when an artery has become so narrowed it can no longer provide adequate blood supply. As a result, most mild cases of atherosclerosis have few, if any, symptoms.
Often, the best treatment for atherosclerosis is maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and eating a balanced diet, states Mayo Clinic. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed. There are also a number of medicines available that can slow or reverse the effects of atherosclerosis. Cholesterol medications are a popular treatment, since they can slow or reverse the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Water pills and beta blockers can help lower high blood pressure, which is a common risk factor associated with the condition. Finally, Angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE, inhibitors can slow the progression of the disease.