A form of arteriosclerosis or hardening of arteries that develops due to plaque formation in the arterial lumen. This is due to damage to the endothelial lining of the blood vessels and can be due to smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The atherosclerotic plaque is made up of lipids, calcium, and some cellular debris. Lipid-filled macrophages and lymphocytes assemble at the site of damage within the tunica interna (fatty streaks). Next, layers of smooth muscle are added. Finally, a cap of connective tissue covers the layers of smooth muscle, lipids, and cellular debris. Progress promoted by inflammation stimulated by cytokines and other paracrine regulators.
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