Causes Of Atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerosis is a slowly progressing inflammatory disease of the cardiovascular system.
It is characterized by the deposition of fatty streaks, which are thin, flat discolourations in the arteries that can enlarge and become thicker as they grow in length1.
Over time, the arteries may develop fibrous atheromatous plaque2. The plaque initially begins as a whitish-grey coating lining the artery. As the plaque increases in size, the artery can become very narrow and blocked3. This can block blood flow and obstruct circulation. Hard plaque formations can cause the arteries to become stiff and inflexible, the main contributor to cardiovascular disease4. Softer plaque formations are more likely to break-free and cause a blood clot, which can block
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There are many long term complications that could result depending on the location of the plaque build up, as stated above.
Heart failure can occur, with myocardial Infarction being the most common. Myocardial Infarction happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can 't get oxygen19. If blood flow isn 't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die20.
Other long term complications include: abnormal heart rhythms, stroke, poor blood supply to certain parts of the body, from the legs to the intestines, kidney failure and death21.
Signi ficant Causative Factors
There are many causative factors that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This summary will touch only on major contributors to this disease. This includes, contributory causes, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and poor dietary choices; specific causes, such as high homocysteine; and predisposing factors, such as family history and age.
It is a well known fact that smoking is a major contributor to many human diseases. According to
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Some experiments have even found that margarine raises blood fat levels34.
Nitrates and nitrites, found in cured and preserved meats, react to form nitrosamine in the gastrointestinal tract35. Nitrosamines create free radicals that have been linked to a variety of serious human illnesses, as well as atherosclerosis. In humans, nitrosamine produce metabolic intermediates which are capable of altering DNA, affecting not only proper cardiovascular function, but many other bodily functions as well36.
There is increased evidence that high levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid produced by the catabolism of methionine, is associated with an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis. Elevated homocysteine promotes atherosclerosis through increased oxidant stress, impaired endothelial function, and induction of thrombosis37.
Growing older also increases your risk for atherosclerosis, mainly because bodily function isn 't as optimal compared to those under the age of 30. In men, the risk increases after age 45. In women, the risk increases after age 5538.
Family history can almost determine a predisposition to heart disease. Your risk for atherosclerosis increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or

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