atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a disease or condition of the arteries that is described as the deposition of plaques and/or fatty material on their inner walls.

The plaques often cause inflammation and the increasing amounts of proteins, macrophages, and other elements. The response or result of the damage can be seen in arterial blood vessels.

Over time, a hardening of the arteries is seen – again caused by the continual build-up of fatty molecules such as cholesterol.

This condition is much more specific than the general term of arteriosclerosis. When considered – atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis.

Potential Complications

1.) Atheromatous plaques

–  Swelling of the artery wall
–  Not typically seen in veins
–  Can be made up of: macrophage cells, lipids, cholesterol, and other tissue or debris
–  Can lead to the closure of an artery.

Three main components of Atheromatous plaques

.  Atheroma
.  Cholesterol Crystals
.  Calcification

2.)  Aneurysm

3.)  Hypertension

4.)  Myocardial Infarction

5.)  Stroke

Causes:

– LDL  [low-density lipoprotein molecules]
– LDL comes in contact with artery wall and a reaction occurs
– Immune response of macrophages and T-lymphocytes occurs
– The Artery becomes inflamed
– A hardcover is placed over inflamed area

Symptoms:

–  Typically no symptoms are seen
–  Heart attack may be the first symptom – seen in almost 65% of men and less than 50% of women
–  Shortness of breath
–  Fatigue
–  Chest pressure
–  Chest pain
–  Others

Treatment options:

1.)  Quit smoking

2.)  Regular exercise

3.)  Medications
.        Statins
.        Niacin

4.)  Surgery
–  Angioplasty
–  Bypass surgery
–  Stent placement

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