Atherosclerotic Heart Disease

Monday, March 26, 2012

Atherosclerotic (Atherosclerosis) is a general term for several diseases, in which the artery wall becomes thicker and less flexible. Disease of the most important and most common is atherosclerosis, in which fatty material collects under the inner lining of the artery wall.

Atherosclerotic can occur in arteries in the brain, heart, kidneys, other vital organs and the arms and legs. When atherosclerosis occurs in the arteries to the brain (carotid artery), then it could be a stroke. If it occurs in the arteries to the heart (coronary arteries), heart attack can occur.

Causes of Atherosclerotic:

Atherosclerotic Heart Disease begins when white blood cells called monocytes, moving from the bloodstream into the arterial wall and transformed into cells that collect fatty materials. In time, this fat-filled monocytes will accumulate, causing patches of thickening of the lining of arteries.

Each area of ​​thickening (a so-called atherosclerotic plaque or atheroma) are filled with soft materials such as cheese, containing a number of fatty material, especially cholesterol, smooth muscle cells and connective tissue cells.

Atheroma in the arteries could be dispersed in medium and large arteries, but they are usually formed on branching region, possibly due to turbulence in this region causes injury to the artery wall, so here is more easily formed atheroma.

Arteries affected by atherosclerosis will lose elasticity and because atheroma continues to grow, it will be narrowed arteries. Long atheroma collect calcium deposits, so that it becomes brittle and may break. Blood may enter into a ruptured atheroma, so atheroma becomes larger and narrowed arteries.

A ruptured atheroma also can shed the fat content and trigger the formation of a blood clot (thrombus). This will narrow further clot even clog the arteries, or a clot will detach and flow with the bloodstream and cause blockages elsewhere (embolism).

The Risk of Atherosclerosis Will Increase in:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Smoker
  • Diabetes (diabetes)
  • Overweight (obesity)
  • Lazy exercise
  • The elderly
  • Men have a higher risk than women.
Homosistinuria hereditary disease have widespread atheroma, particularly at a young age. Arterial disease is about a lot but not always the coronary arteries (arteries to the heart). Instead, the inherited condition familial hypercholesterolemia, very high cholesterol levels lead to formation of more atheroma in the coronary arteries compared to other arteries.

Indications of Atherosclerotic Heart Disease:

Before the sudden narrowing or blockage of the arteries, atherosclerosis usually causes no symptoms. Symptoms depend on the location of the establishment, so it can be a symptom of heart, brain, legs or other places.

If atherosclerotic narrowing of the arteries that lead to very severe, then the body will not get diperdarahinya blood in sufficient numbers, which carry oxygen to tissues. The early symptoms of arterial narrowing can be a pain or cramps that occur when blood flow can not meet the need for oxygen. For example, during exercise, a person may feel chest pain (angina) due to reduced flow of oxygen to the heart, or when walking, a person to feel cramps in the legs (claudication interminten) because of reduced oxygen flow to the leg.

Characteristic is that these symptoms occur gradually, in line with the narrowing of the arteries by atheroma which also takes place slowly. But if a blockage occurs suddenly (eg when a clot clogs an artery), the symptoms will arise unexpectedly.

Diagnose in Atherosclerotic Heart Disease:

Prior to the occurrence of complications, atherosclerosis may not be diagnosed.
Prior to the occurrence of complications, hearing bruit (noise blowing) on examination with a stethoscope may be an indication of atherosclerosis.
Pulse on the affected area can be reduced.

Examination can be done to diagnose atherosclerosis:
ABI (ankle-brachial index), blood pressure measurements were taken at the ankle and arm
Doppler examination in the affected area
Duplex ultrasound Skening
CT scan in the affected area
Magnetic resonance arteriography
Arteriography in the affected area
IVUS (intravascular ultrasound).

That is short description for Atherosclerotic Heart Disease. See also related topic in diseases for: Progeria Disease