Atheroma is the pathophisiological expression of atherosclerosis. It build up silently for many years before it causes trouble. Patchy deposits of fatty material are laid down within the inner lining of the arteries. As a results arteries get furred up, and narrowed, the normal smooth inner surface of the artery may crack, which causes the blood to clot (thrombosis) just as it does following an external wound, or the arterial wall is weakened, gives way and bleeds (haemorrhage). When atheroma affects the coronary arteries it causes angina, heart attack, or sudden death. When it affects the arteries to the brain it causes strokes. When it affects the leg arteries it causes pain and limping (clauticatio intermittens). Research has not yet revealed exactly how atheroma occurs (meccanical, chimical, and biological processes), but we do know that there are congenital and environmental known as “risk factors” that make heart attacks or strokes more likely to happen.

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