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The relationship between atherosclerosis and stress - Essay Example

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The relationship between atherosclerosis and stress

This fatty build-up would later thicken and then harden or form calcium deposits in the arteries, consequently blocking the arteries. Because of the build-up, the hardened deposits may block the flow of blood along the arteries (Dugdale, 2009). In instances when the coronary artery becomes narrowed by plaque deposits, then blood flow to the heart itself can either slow down or be stopped. The patient can experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms when this happens (Dugdale, 2009). These fatty deposits may also break off (as embolus) and flow with the blood in the arteries and veins; they may eventually get lodged in the smaller blood vessels causing heart attacks or strokes (Dugdale, 2009). The causes for atherosclerosis have not been fully determined; however there are traits and conditions which have been considered as risk factors for this disease. It is a condition which slowly and gradually develops over time and may be worsened by factors which induce plaque formation or blood coagulation. These factors may include the following factors or causes: inflammation or infection, hypertension, smoking, and elevated LDL and VLDL (DeBruyne, 2003, p. 603). Other factors like high-fat diet, obesity, high-sodium diet, cigarette smoking, family history, and lack of exercise may also cause atherosclerosis (McConnell, 2007, p. 278). Stress is also being considered as a possible cause of atherosclerosis; however, no firm support has been set forth for this theory as yet. Nevertheless, Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association cites a study which correlates the “degree of carotid arterial atherosclerosis with exaggerated response to mental stress in men under the age of 55” (as cited by Diagnose Me, 2009). Their study further established that strong blood pressure responses to stressful situations were seen in those with more advanced atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries as compared to ...Show more


Heart disease in the UK is even considered as one of the primary causes of death as figures in the year 2006 indicate that about “113,000…
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The relationship between atherosclerosis and stress
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