Cardiovascular disease - any disease associated with the heart and blood vessels (Including aneurysms, thrombosis and myocardial infarction). Most start with a atheroma formation.
Atheroma - a fibrous plaque caused by the build up and hardening of white blood cells, lipids and connective tissue.
The wall of an artery is made up of several layers. The endothelium (inner lining) is normally smooth and unbroken.
If damage occurs to the endothelium (eg by high blood pressure), white blood cells (mostly macrophages) and lipids (fat) from the blood clump together under the lining to form fatty streaks.
Over time, more white blood cells, lipids and connective tissue build up and harden to form an atheroma.
An atheroma partially blocks the lumen of the artery and restricts blood flow, causing the blood pressure to increase.
Aneurysm - a balloon-like swelling of an artery.
It starts with the formation of atheromas. Atheroma plaques damage and weaken arteries. They also narrow arteries, increasing blood pressure.
When blood travels through a weakened artery at high pressure, it may push through the inner layers of the artery through the outer elastic layer to form an aneurysm.
This aneurysm may burst, causing a haemorrhage (bleeding).
Thrombosis - the formation of a blood clot.
It starts with the formation of atheromas.
An atheroma plaque can rupture the endothelium (inner lining) of an artery. This damages the artery wall and leaves a rough surface.
Platelets and fibrin (a protein) accumulate at the site of damage and form a blood clot (a thrombus)
This blood clot can cause a complete blockage of the artery, or it can become dislodged and block a blood vessel elsewhere in the body
Debris from the…