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  • Atherosclerosis
    • This is a disease process
      • it hapens when fatty deposits block arteries and reduce blood flow. this can increase the chance of blood clots which reduce or stop blood flow
    • if it happens in the arteries supplying the brain it can result ina  stroke
    • if it happens in arteries supplying the legs it can result in tissue damage or death and gangrene (decay)
    • so how does it happen?
      • firstly, the delicate layer of cells lining the artery (endothelium cells) become damaged by toxins from cigarettes or high blood pressure
        • this causes an inflammatory response and white blood cells move into the artery wall where they accumulate chemicals from the blood ( mainly cholesterol) building up a soft deposit called atheroma
          • calcium salts and fibrous tissues also build up resulting in a hard swelling called plaque on the inner wall of the artery. The artery wall can lose elasticity or harden
            • the plawues can cause the artery to narrow, making it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body which in turn raises blood pressure.
              • this causes dangerous positive feedback as raised blood pressure caused by plaques created more plaques.
    • it is unlikely the sufferer will be aware of the problem until the arteries become too narrow to supply the tissues with nutrients and tissues and they stop funcitoning normally


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