Atherosclerosis Papers

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Atherosclerosis

What is Atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis is thickening, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to plaque build up. This build up causes the arteries to narrow and makes it harder for the blood to flow. Sometimes a clot will form and stop the flow completely, causing a stroke or heart attack. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin. Atherosclerosis begins at a young age and progressively increases with age, it can also be genetic.
The older we get, it is inevitable that we will all have some amount of plaque build up within our arteries. Those that are riddled with massive amounts of plaque build up; can have diseases such as coronary heart disease, angina, carotid
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Coronary artery disease is when plaque builds up in the main arteries of the heart. When the plaque ruptures it blocks the flow to the hearts muscle, causing it to die. Theses blockages lead to angina and eventually to heart attacks. Cerebrovascular disease is caused by ruptured plaque in the brain’s arteries. These blockages then lead to strokes, which can lead to permanent brain damage. When there is a small blockage in the artery, this can cause what is called transient ischemic attacks, which are warning signs of a stroke. Peripheral disease is narrowing in the lower extremities. This causes poor circulation to the legs, which can lead to pain during walking and in severe conditions …show more content…
There are many medications out there to help reduce your risks of atherosclerosis. The medications out there focus on reducing your blood pressure, controlling you high cholesterol levels and also diuretics to control your fluid intake. Preventing blood clots is another way of preventing heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin is a good and common antiplatelet medicine.
Coronary angioplasty is another treatment used in atherosclerosis. This type of surgery uses special balloons and stents to go in and actually widen the artery, or re-open it. If the blockage is too tight and unable to be opened with coronary angioplasty, then the patient is then sent to surgery for a bypass. During the coronary artery bypass graft, a donor vein is grafted onto the heart muscle that is damaged and rerouted to gain blood flow to the damaged heart muscle.
When it comes to the arteries in the neck surgery is a last resort. Carotid endarterectomy is used to widen the carotid artery. During this procedure a cut is made into the narrowed area of the artery, the inner lining of the artery is then removed, along with the plaque. Then a patch that is taken from either a vein, or donor vein is sewn in where the damaged artery was removed. Carotid angioplasty is used before an endarterectomy, because it is less invasive. This process involves a balloon used to open the blocked

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