the terms are used interchangeably, atherosclerosis
(or “hardening of the arteries”) is one
type of arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is actually
a generic term for a number of diseases in which the
arterial wall becomes thickened and loses elasticity.
Atherosclerosis is where plaque builds up and sticks
to the walls of the larger arteries. Plaque is made
up of cholesterol and fatty substances found in blood
as well as other particles found in blood.
Plaque can accumulate in an area and continue to build
up until it is large enough to occlude the flow of blood
through an artery. This can lead to tissue ischemia
(tissue dies d/t lack of oxygen past the point of the
blockage) and cause pain. Pain would increase with exercise
d/t greater oxygen demand from the tissues during exercise.
danger of plaque is it could slow down the flow of blood
in the area of the plaque and stagnant blood clots.
If a clot forms and then breaks free into the bloodstream
it can travel to the brain (potential for Stroke), heart
(potential for MI/heart attack) or in the legs, or lungs
symptoms to watch out for
any c/o areas of pain, at rest or while walking to the
BR, and/or numbness or tingleing. Do your circulatory
checks (temp. color, pulses) to see if blood is no longer
getting to all the extremities/areas it was on your
last assessment or if different then in the report you
got from the last shift.
for s/s of MI (heart attack/myocardial infarction.)
for symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Assess
for labored breathing, possibly accompanied by chest
pain, rapid pulse, cough that produces bloody sputum,
low fever, auscultate lungs for fluid.
for neurologiacal status/ change of neuro status to
pick up on s/s of a TIA (transient ischemic attack,
also known as "mini-stroke") or stroke. Talk
to patient, as they answer you will be checking their
neuro status and to be sure of their neuro status ask
them to state their name, where they are and the date
(A&Ox3). To further check you can watch for one-sided
facial droop and one-sided weakness, assess pupals for
bilateral size and reactivity to light.
you may see these patients on:
the blood and helps prevent clots from forming
widen the vascular system to allow better blood flow
lower lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol in the
Angioplsty, Bypass, Amputation