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Atherosclerosis - Build-up of arterial plaque

ATHEROSCLEROSIS

What is atherosclerosis?

Most cardiovascular disease (CVD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a consequence of atherosclerosis(Greek: athero=paste, sclerosis=hardening) - which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries with an accumulation of paste, called plaque, in the arterial wall.

Atherosclerosis is a life-saving INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE to prevent you from bleeding to death!

Atherosclerosis occurs as a result of the immune system's INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE to arterial wall damage – intended as a temporary fix, plaque is laid down to prevent bleeding through a damaged blood vessel wall.

19th Century INFLAMED ARTERIES

Based on his detailed autopsy studies and pathology investigations of those who had died of heart disease, late 19th century, German physiologist Rudolph Virchow proposed that the origin of heart disease was inflammation of the heart and the arteries. He found that their arteries looked as though they had been wounded inside, similar to an infected skin abrasion

Why be concerned about atherosclerosis?

If the actual cause of arterial wall damage is not addressed, arterial plaques can grow in size, eventually blocking the smaller arteries - such as the coronary arteries providing blood to the heart (causing a heart attack), or blocking /bursting the small arteries in the brain (causing strokes), or blocking peripheral arteries to the legs, feet or arms (causing pain and/or nerve/tissue damage), or setting the stage for several other undesirable possibilities:

✔ Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) - atherosclerosis narrows the coronary arteries

 Heart attack (myocardial infarction) - a blood clot develops from plaque, typically in one of the coronary arteries, causing a blockage, called a thrombosis), which blocks the oxygen supply to the heart

 Arrhythmia - irregular hartbeat

✔ Stroke - blockage of carotid artery supplying oxygenated blood to the brain

✔ Angina - chest pain

✔ Hypertension (high blood pressure) -

✔ Thrombosis (clot formation causing blockage in )

✔ Hemorrhagic burst (blood vessel rupture).

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