Atherosclerosis Essay

1150 words - 5 pages

Atherosclerosis is defined as the formation of fatty plaques in the walls of arteries, restricting blood flow to deep tissues (Martini).
Coronary heart disease came in the public eye in the mid-20th century as a disease of pandemic magnitudes and it continues to be a major cause of death in the western world. The fundamental cause of coronary heart disease is Atherosclerosis. The term “atherosclerosis” is the combination of two Greek words which correctly imply the elements of the lesion. The first being “athero” the greek work for gruel which parallels to the necrotic core at the base plaque formation, and “sclerosis” from the Greek word hardening, corresponding to the fibrous cap on the ...view middle of the document...

In order to prevent the concerns raised many organisations plan strategies by gaining a deep understanding of the disease and its partner- Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic disease has a deceptive evolution; it remains asymptomatic for many years as it gradually amasses arterial lesions. The disease will start to show symptoms once it has reached a progressed stage. At this stage reversing becomes challenging as destruction of the vascular system has been occurring for an extended period. Therefore, it is imperative that the damage is recognised in the early stages to slow development of the disease. A wide spread strategy being used are the signs of structural alterations of the artery which suggest pre-atherosclerotic lesions. For example, increased thickening in the intima media indicates the foundation of atherosclerosis. (3)
An artery is one of the classes of a blood vessel within the cardiovascular system. Arteries play the part of carrying blood away from the heart into the peripheral tissue where they branch out over and over again decreasing the diameter of the lumen. Arterioles are the smallest of the branched out artery which enables the blood to move into the capillaries to allow the process of diffusion. From this the blood enters the minute venules which join to form lager veins so that blood is supplied back to the heart (Martini).
There are three distinctive layers in the walls of the arteries:
The tunica intima – is the innermost layer which consists of an endothelial lining surrounded by a layer of connective tissue and elastic fibres. This is supported by the internal elastic lamella forming the principal thickness of this layer, separating it from the tunica media. The tunica media is situated in the middle of the blood vessel. This layer comprises of smooth muscle cells and elastic fibre arranged in loose spiral layers. Contraction of the smooth muscle causes the diameter of the vessel to decrease, and relaxation causes the diameter to increase. The collagen fibres aid in the binding of the layers within the blood vessel. The outer margin of the tunica media holds a layer of elastic fibres which separates it from the outer layer. The outermost layer of the blood vessel known as the tunica externa, mainly compromises of connective tissue and collagen fibres. Connective tissue fibres provide the blood vessel with stability by merging into the adjoining tissues. The arrangements and structure of the blood vessel gives it substantial strength as well as the ability to change blood pressure and volume to meet the requirements of the body. However, the location of the...

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