Atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease characterized by the deposition of materials such as lipids, cholesterol, and proteins such as fibrins in the arteries, as seen in Figure 1 below. This leads to increased resistance to blood flow and causes the stress on the heart to increase.

The main risk of atherosclerosis is that it greatly increases the probability of blood clots forming in arteries. Should such clots occur in the carotid or coronary arteries, they can result in strokes or myocardial infarctions, which can be fatal2. This paper seeks to analyze how physical principles can be used to elucidate the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and its effects on the human body.

Physical Principles
Continuity Equation
This equation states that for an incompressible, non-viscous fluid with constant density flowing through a channel, the mass and volume of the fluid are conserved. As a result, the rate of fluid volume flow has to be constant at different points where the cross-sectional area differs.
∆V/∆T=A_1 V_1= A_2 V_2 (1)
With reference to Eq. (1), ∆V/∆T refers to the rate of fluid volume flow, while A refers to the cross-sectional area and V the fluid velocity at points 1 and 2 in a tube respectively. From Eq. (1), it can be seen that as the rate of fluid volume flow is assumed to be constant for an incompressible fluid, a decrease in the cross-sectional area of a tube would lead to an increase in the fluid velocity passing through it3.

Bernoulli’s Equation
Ideally, in the absence of fluid friction, the flow of incompressible fluids can be described by Bernoulli’s Equation:
P_1+ ρgy_1+1/2 ρv_1^(2 )= P_2+ ρgy_2+1/2 ρv_2^(2 ) (2)
With reference to Eq. (...

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...lp to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein levels and potentially slow the development of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels16. With these advancements in pharmaceuticals, it may be much easier to control the advancement of atherosclerosis in future.

Works Cited

1. Merck - MK-0524B - Treatment of Atherosclerosis. (June 6, 2014); from http://www.pharmaceutical-networking.com/merck-mk-0524b-treatment-of-atherosclerosis/.

2. J. Losos, K. Mason, S. Singer, based on the work of P. Raven, & G. Johnson, Biology, 8th ed., (McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), Singapore, 2008), pp. 994-995.

3. H. Young, & R. Geller, Sears & Zemansky's College Physics, 8th ed., (Pearson Education Inc., San Francisco, 2007), pp. 422-426, 428, 430-431.

4. P. Davidovits, Physics in Biology and Medicine, 3rd ed., (Elsevier Inc., United States of America, 2008), pp. 101-104, 110-112.

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