Atherosclerosis Essay

1384 Words 6 Pages
There are multiple factors that contribute to the build-up of plaque in the vessels and in turn, the development of atherosclerosis (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p327). The disease attacks different arteries in the body, but the most harmful conditions involve damages to the vessels of the brain and the heart (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p329). Understanding of the structures and mechanisms that take place in the heart and the brain to allow for blood distribution is a critical component for anyone trying to determine the development or characteristics of this condition (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p327).
In a healthy person, the cardiovascular system is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body accordingly (lecture 4). This system consists
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The build-up of atherosclerotic plaque consists of a lipid-rich center surrounded by an overgrowth of smooth muscle cells, covered with a collagen-rich connective tissue cap and this plaque build-up bulges into the vessel lumen.” (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p327). The body does a good job adapting to the needs of the heart as blood flow is required to move throughout the body, the heart is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and influenced by the hormone epinephrine, both assist the body when blood delivery needs are high (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p331). However, when the build-up accumulates over a life time it can cause a series of medical problems including chest pain, blood clots, strokes and heart attacks (Ouweneel et al., p1). Early in the development of atherosclerosis there are many factors that cause the endothelium to become weak and leaky, primarily caused from a deficiency nitric oxide production (Yurdagul Jr et al., 2016 p5). Although the cause of atherosclerosis is not clearly defined there are many risk factors that have been associated with the development of this disease including age, genetics, cholesterol, diabetes, mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and lifestyle (e.g. physical inactivity, smoking) (Yurdagul Jr et al., 2016 p1). Many symptoms can occur from the enlargement of plaque that narrows the vessel. If the plaque continues to progress and narrow the lumen restricting blood flow this can cause angina pectoris which can be felt under the sternum, and pain can reoccur is the cardiac oxygen needs are too large (Silverthorn et al., 2009 p330). The pain is temporary and can be relieved with rest, vasodilator drugs which can relax the vascular smooth muscle

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