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Endothelium vascular function
What is endothelial dysfunction?
The pathological state known as endothelial dysfunction is the earliest clinically detectable stage of cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attacks, stroke, Peripheral Arterial Disease and many other diseases). The functioning of the endothelial cells – endothelial function – is normally kept in balance. Atherosclerosis risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, smoking, aging, obesity, chronic infection, and inflammation, can all disrupt this balance and lead to endothelial dysfunction.
Endothelial dysfunction can be defined as reduced bio-availability of Nitric Oxide (NO) which plays many roles in maintaining vascular health, most importantly its role in vasomotion. Hence, endothelial dysfunction is defined as an impairment of endothelium dependent vasodilation.
What are the consequences of endothelial dysfunction?
The main consequence of endothelial dysfunction is the initiation of an inflammatory process which leads to the formation of atherosclerosis and its late sequel, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Endothelial dysfunction is involved in numerous systemic disease processes such as: erectile dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, cerebrovascular diseases (stroke/TIA), pre-eclampsia toxemia, renal failure, sleep apnea, claudication, and gangrene.
Who should have to test the endothelial dysfunction ?
Candidates include men between the ages of 40 and 70 and women between the ages of 50 to 70 with one or more of the following risk factors for heart disease:
• Cigarette smoking
• Elevated cholesterol level
• Family history of heart disease (sudden death, heart attack, or need for angioplasty or bypass surgery) in a first-degree male relative (parents or siblings) 55 years old or less, or a first-degree female relative 65 years old or less.
• High blood pressure
• Sedentary life style
However, this test does not replace the conventional diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases , diabetes and cholesterol.