Coronary Artery Disease : A Heart Attack Essay

1986 Words Oct 16th, 2014 8 Pages
Coronary Artery Disease
Levi Gatherwright
Morehead State University Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease, CAD for short, is caused by a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood. The plaque (Atheroma) is a waxy like substance that consists of calcium, lipid compounds, and blood clotting compounds such as macrophages and fibrin. The buildup takes many years to accumulate; the plaque eventually swells the arterial wall restricting blood flow to the heart. This is called ischemia. Ischemia causes damage to the surrounding tissue due to the lack of blood flow, which results in slowed cellular metabolism. According to the Texas Heart Institute (2014), plaque is categorized into two types: hard plaque and soft plaque. Hard plaque builds up in the artery until it stops blood flow resulting in a heart attack, and soft plaque also referred to as Vulnerable Plaque can rupture an artery forming a clot thus leading to a heart attack. Common terms used to describe coronary artery disease are; Arteriosclerosis, a result of the artery walls losing elasticity and eventually hardening due to hypertension, and Atherosclerosis the thickening of the artery wall due to the inflammatory process and accumulation of WBCs. These terms are commonly confused, but Atherosclerosis plays a huge role in CAD. Although it is known that Atherosclerosis is asymptomatic and usually begins in early to late childhood, the origin of the process is not…

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