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Sandefur Initial PostNURS 6501Week 4Cardiovascular DisordersPathophysiology of Cardiovascular DisordersCardiovascular disease affects the heart and blood vessels, and the most common cause ofmajor cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis (Scott, 2004).Atherosclerosis occurs when a buildup of fatty plaque causes the arteries to harden and thicken (Scott,2004). When plaque hardens, the arteries narrow, and amount of oxygen-rich blood that is able to reachyour organs and the rest of the body is reduced (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2012).Atherosclerosis is a “pathological process that can affect vascular systems throughout the body, resultingin ischemic syndromes that can vary widely in their severity and clinical manifestations” (Huether &McCance, 2017, p. 607). High cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, unhealthy diet, and lack ofexercise are all common, but modifiable risk factors that cause damage to the inner lining of the walls ofthe arteries, or endothelial cells (Huether & McCance, 2017).The process begins when damaged endothelial cells become inflamed, leaving them unable toproduce normal amounts of antithrombic and vasodilating cytokines (Huether & McCance, 2017). Theinjured cells then produce adhesion molecules which bind monocytes and other inflammatory and

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