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Where does atherosclerosis occur

Where does atherosclerosis occur?


Atherosclerosis can occur in any medium/large artery supplying oxygenated blood under high pressure

Atherosclerosis most frequently affects the following arteries:

✔  Aorta (largest artery) – supplies blood to all body parts;

✔  Coronary arteries (supplying blood to heart)

✔  Carotid and vertebral arteries (supplying blood to neck/head)

✔  Iliac/femoral arteries (supplying blood to pelvic area).

Atherosclerosis eventually causes:

–   Stenosis - narrowing;

–   Sometimes accompanied by arteriosclerosis - hardening of the artery lumen (throughway)

✔   Which decreases circulation

✔   And reduces arterial elasticity

✔   Compromising the dilation of blood vessels when needed - such as during strenuous exercise.

The accumulation (swelling) is always in the intima

(between the endothelial lining and the smooth muscle wall)

Atherosclerotic plaques characteristically occur in high pressure/turbulent areas in arterial blood vessels

In regions of branching and marked curvature at areas of geometric irregularity - and where blood undergoes sudden changes in velocity and direction of flow.

It does not occur in veins carrying deoxygenated blood - under pressure 8 times lower than the arteries

Atherosclerosis is diagnosed as:

Coronary heart/artery disease (i.e. CHD or CAD)

2 main coronary arteries (branch off the aorta) that supply blood to the heart muscle –atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis reduces their supply, leading to blood insufficiency (ischemia) to the heart;

(There's that incorrect depiction of plaque placement again! :) )

Peripheral artery disease

Iliac/Femoral Arteries – atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis causes a decrease in blood flow to the legs and feet that can injure nerves and other tissues.

Axillary/Brachial Arteries – arm artery disease is a rare form of PAD, but the most common cause is atherosclerosis in the arm arteries, which can cut off circulation to the hand; symptoms include pain, weakness, fingers turning blue, and gangrene.

Carotid artery disease

Carotid and Vertebral Arteries - atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis reduces the oxygen-rich blood supply to the brain. Carotid artery disease accounts for well over 95% of symptoms causing cerebrovascular disease. When the carotid arteries are obstructed, you are at an increased risk for a stroke.

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