Atherosclerosis Case Study

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Approximately 80 million people, roughly thirty-six percent of the global population, suffer from cardiovascular disease (Boudi, 2015). Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries. In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up in an artery, resulting in restricted blood flow and oxygen deprivation to the target organ. The term, atherosclerosis, is Greek in origin and means focal accumulation (Boudi, 2015). It is a slow yet progressive disease that may start in childhood (American Heart Association, 2014), and can affect any artery in the body. As the single largest killer of men and women in the United States, much research has been conducted into the development, causes, risk factors, and treatments for …show more content…
Regardless of the amount of research conducted, the cause of atherosclerosis is not actually known. The “Response-to-Injury” hypothesis is the most widely accepted theory today; this theory is based on the fact that the vascular endothelium must first be injured in some way (Boudi, 2015). Several factors can increase the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis, these include: genetics, age, and lifestyle. Having a family history of early onset coronary artery disease increases risk; this is generally due to a defect in the gene for the hepatic receptor of LDL, low-density lipoprotein. LDL is the negative lipoprotein, which builds up in your arteries; HDL, high-density lipoprotein, carries LDL to the liver where it is broken down and removed. Low-density lipoprotein is the most atherogenic lipid and substantial evidence supports the theory that oxidized LDL is the prominent component of atheroma development (Boudi, 2015). Advanced age is the greatest risk factor for developing CAD. It is normal to have some hardening of the …show more content…
As mentioned previously, plaque can build up in any artery of the human body; this can lead to Coronary Artery Disease, Carotid Artery Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease, or Chronic Kidney Disease. In order to better understand atherosclerosis, you need to know what plaque is, the structure and function of the arteries, and what occurs when the atheroma develops and ruptures. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin (American Heart Association, 2014). Plaque generally accumulates in arterial regions where there is branching or marked curvature or where blood undergoes changes in velocity or flow; this can take ten to fifteen years to become hemodynamically significant (Boudi, 2015). Arteries are composed of three layers; the intima, or inner layer, is a single layer of endothelial cells, the media, or middle layer is mostly composed of smooth muscle cells, and the adventitia, or outer layer

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