Atherosclerosis is an illness that affects the arterial blood vessels, as well as a long-term swelling reaction in the arteries’ walls due of the build up of macrophage white blood cells. It is also characterized by Low-density (particularly tiny particles) Lipoproteins (plasma proteins that absorb triglycerides and cholesterol), without sufficient elimination of cholesterol and fats from macrophages by a useful High-density Lipoproteins (HDL).

Atherosclerosis grows from LDL, or low-density lipoprotein molecules, that are being oxidized by free radicals (LDL-OX) – specifically, free radical oxygen (ROS). Blood in the arteries contains a great deal of oxygen, and that is where atherosclerosis develops. This is unlike the blood in the veins, which contains little oxygen, so that atherosclerosis is unlike to develop there. Whenever oxidized LDL makes contact with the wall of an artery, a chain reaction occurs to restore the created by the oxidized LDL. The shape of the LDL molecule is spherical, with an empty core for transporting cholesterol throughout the body for the purpose of building tissues in the brain, carrying vitamins, etc. Blood is 70 percent water; since cholesterol is not liquefied in water, the only way for it to move in our bloodstreams is to be transported by LDL.

The immune systems of our bodies react to the damage done by oxidized LDL to the wall of the artery by transmitting specific white blood cells (Macrophages and T-lymphocytes) to soak up the oxidized LDL. Sadly, they are not capable of handling oxidized LDL, and will eventually break, leaving behind a large quantity of cholesterol in the artery wall. This will trigger the activity of additional white blood cells, repeating the sequence.

In the end, the artery will become swollen. The plaque from the cholesterol triggers the cells of the muscles to expand, and to develop a tough shell over the area that is affected. This tough shell is what brings about the constricting of the artery, decreasing the flow of the blood and raising blood pressure.

Atherosclerosis normally starts in the early puberty stage, and is generally located in nearly all the main arteries, but is asymptomatic and not recognized by the majority of diagnostic procedures that one undergoes in the course of life. The phase directly before the development of true atherosclerosis is identified as “subclinical” atherosclerosis. The greater part of the development that leads to subclinical atherosclerosis can occur without even knowing it, particularly given the vast array of risk factors. The illness is evident in autopsies of fit and able young males who died during the Vietnam and Korean wars. It most frequently becomes critically symptomatic when obstructing with the coronary flow to the brain; and in general, it is deemed the most significant primary cause of heart attacks, strokes, and various heart illnesses including congestive heart failure, as well as nearly all cardiovascular illnesses. Atheroma of the arms or (more commonly) the legs, produces a decline in the flow of blood, and is known as Peripheral Artery Occlusive Disease or PAOD.

In general, cardiac stress analysis — which is usually the most frequently performed non-invasive analysis process for blood flow restrictions — can only detect lumen narrowing of approximately 75 percent or higher, although some doctors say that the nuclear stress process can spot as little as 50 percent.

The heart has been a fascination of nature for many ages and since the beginning of time man has had a yearning to learn more about the heart and how it operates. As the vessel that is attributed to being the root of life, the diseases that affect this muscle is just as fascinating, and as you learn more about the ailments that affect life and our hearts, you will also learn more about how to take care of your heart to make it last longer and stronger. Although heart disease has been around since the beginning of time, modern science has only brought it forward in a manner that allows it to be studied in the recent centuries which allows us to get better information on how to care for the root of our lives.

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Last updated on Mar 10th, 2009 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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