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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: arteriosclerosis & artherosclerosis
Date: 24 May 1995

In <3pu2ni$> () writes:

>Could someone explain the difference between arteriosclerosis and
>artherosclerosis?           Thanks

One is subset of the other.  Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the
arteries) refers to 4 diseases which screw up distension of arteries.
These are

1) calcific sclerosis (what makes white pipe-looking arteries on Xray,
but rarely kills people),

2) and 3) hyaline arteriolosclerosis and hyperplastic
arteriolosclerosis, which (as you see by the prefix) attack small
arterioles with stiffening or thickening of the walls.  The first
happens often in diabetics, and second in hypertension.  They can both
cause problems in kidney, retina, or brain, but they aren't the real
killer diseases.  What was once refered to in dementia as "hardening" of
the arteries is known today as mostly Alzheimer's disease (probably
nothing to do with the arteries), but a significant proportion of
dementia is caused by multiple small strokes which may indeed have to do
with these forms of small artery damage.

And finally 4) the real killer atherosclerosis, which is the one where
you get tumors of smooth muscle cells in the sides of large arteries,
which take up cholesterol from LDLs and grow into large plagues filled
with a soupy gruel (atheroma in Greek) of fat and cholesterol.  These
bulge into large arteries in neck, heart, brain, and choke off blood
supply.  When they rupture or clot or do both, ALL blood is cut off
suddenly, and this results in infarction/stroke (tissue death

                                   Steve Harris, M.D.

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