Stroke

Updated 30 July 2014

What atherosclerosis does to the body

After plaque has formed it can cause problems in a number of different ways. If an established plaque ruptures, the resulting events can cause a heart attack or stroke.

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After plaque has formed it can cause problems in a number of different ways. If an established plaque ruptures, the resulting events can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Plaque ruptures if the tissue covering it erodes sufficiently to allow blood to come into contact with the lipid core. This causes the blood to clot (thrombose). If the clot is in one of the coronary arteries it can cause symptoms such as chest pain or it can cause a fatal heart attack. It can also lodge in the brain and cause a stroke.

Plaque can also become thickened with calcium deposits, or the inner lipid core can crystallise. This stops the plaque from rupturing as easily, but further stiffens the artery – so-called hardening of the arteries.

(The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa/Health24, updated January 2009)

 

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Dr Naeem Brey completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degree in 2003 at the University of Cape Town. In 2010 he started he started specialising in Neurology at Tygerberg Hospital and graduated with his specialist exam in FCNeurol (Fellowship of the College of Neurology) in May 2013.

He has a particular interest in stroke as well autoimmune and demyelinating neurological illnesses. Read more about Dr Naeem Brey

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