Arteriosclerosis is the term
used to describe thickening and inelasticity of the walls of arteries.
two main patterns, of which atherosclerosis is the more common.
It is defined as
the thickening and hardening of the walls of arteries as a consequence of the
disease process called atheroma.
thickening and hardening of the walls of small arteries and arterioles, usually
caused by the presence of hypertension or diabetes.
This pattern of vascular
damage is particularly seen in the kidneys and brain.
The consequence of narrowing
of vessels is poor tissue perfusion with blood.
The consequence of inelasticity
of vessels is a predisposition to vessel rupture and haemorrhage.
the vascular endothelium also predispose to secondary thrombosis.
Atheroma and its
consequences constitute the most common and important cause of disease and death
in the Western world. Atheroma affects large- and medium-sized arteries, rarely
involving arteries under 2 mm in diameter, and is confined to arteries exposed
to the high pressures in the systemic circulation.
The arteries most severely
affected by atheroma are the aorta, coronary, carotid, mesenteric, iliac and
femoral arteries, and the cerebral arteries derived from both the
vertebrobasilar and internal carotid arteries.
The intrarenal artery
branches are thick walled and prominent, due to hypertensive arteriosclerosis.