Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. The Artery-wall thickens as a result of invasion and accumulation of white blood cells (WBCs) (foam cell) and proliferation of intimal-smooth-muscle cell creating an atheromatous (fibrofatty) plaque. Plaque creates a bump on the artery wall. As atherosclerosis progresses, that bump gets bigger. When it gets big enough, it can create a blockage. That process goes on throughout your entire body. As a result, not only is your heart at risk, but you are also at risk for stroke and other health problems. Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause symptoms until middle or older age. But as the narrowing becomes severe, it can choke off blood flow and cause pain. Blockages can also rupture suddenly. That’ll cause blood to clot inside an artery at the site of the rupture.

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