Chad Cipollone, Alex Gunner, Aaron Hammer, Eric Passalacqua

What is Atherosclerosis?

It is a disease in which plaque builds up inside of your arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found within blood. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.


The exact cause of this disease is unknown, but studies show that atherosclerosis is a slow and complex disease that starts in childhood and develops more rapidly as you age. Things that can cause atherosclerosis are...
  • Smoking
  • High amounts of certain fats and cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

Signs and Symptoms

Atherosclerosis usually does not show any symptoms depending on the location until it severely narrows or totally blocks the artery. Majority of people do not know they have this disease until they suffer a heart attack or stroke.


A doctor can diagnose this disease based on your medical and family history, physical exam, and test results.

The goals of treatments include:

  • Relieving symptoms
  • Reducing risk factors in an effort to slow or stop plaque buildup
  • Lowering the risk of blood clots forming
  • Widening or bypassing plaque-clogged arteries

Case Study

Patient: Chad Hammer, a 47 year old white male, recently suffered from a heart attack. His family has a history of both high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. On top of this, Chad does not excersize and eats unhealthily. Chad also smokes regularly. His doctor has reported Chad with having high blood pressure most likely caused by high cholesterol levels.

Symptoms & Diagnosis: Chad suffered a heart attack at the age of 47, considerably young to have such a severe issue. Chad was admitted into the hospital by way of urgent care, and was carefully being monitered and tested to see what caused his heart attack. Doctor records show that he has both high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure, and he informs his doctor that he is a regular smoker. Based on this information, Chad's doctor decides to run him through a echocardiography. After the test results come back, it indicates that plaque, most likely due to his high levels of cholesterol. have built up inside his Aorta and is blocking the flow of blood. Based on the information present, Chad's doctor diagnosis him with Atherosclerosis.

Plan: There is no direct way to go about the treatment of Atherosclerosis, but there are several things that can help. Chad's doctor informs him that he must quit smoking immediately, as well as improve his life style in how he eats and the amount of exercise he gets. Due to the severity of the plaque build up, Chad's doctor decides to perform a procedure in which he implants a stent where the plaque build-up is to help widen the artery walls to allow more blood flow. Chad will have to maintain regular checkups to moniter his heart condition.

Works Cited

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "What Is Atherosclerosis?" National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health, 4 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2015. <>.