Atherosclerosis Is An Underlying Pathology Essay

2599 Words Jul 23rd, 2015 11 Pages
Atherosclerosis is an underlying pathology that can lead to common cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, and acute myocardial infarction. It is also the leading cause of death in the United States.1 Atherosclerosis-related disease accumulated to 68% of deaths in the United States in the year 2010.1 Often, it remains undiagnosed and is only determined as an underlying cause when an individual has a dangerous episode of stroke or myocardial infarction. Atherosclerosis is the process of plaque formation within medium to large arteries. The actual cause of the pathology is unknown; however, there are many risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis including: cigarette smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, age (men over 45, women over 55) family history, ethnicity, obesity, diet, stress, and having a sedentary lifestyle.2 Initially, atherosclerosis is triggered by trauma to the endothelial wall. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) grow within the lumen wall and initiate an oxidative process. An inflammatory response is signaled as monocytes in the blood stream travel to the damaged site. Stimulation of the oxidizing cholesterol converts the monocytes into macrophages, which digest the cholesterol. As a result, the macrophages are transformed into foam cells that accumulate to form plaque. Progressive accumulation of plaque build-up causes a narrowing of the arterial wall. Platelet aggregation from smooth muscle cells surrounds the…

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