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Older COPD patients have a high-risk of carotid artery plaque formation

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Older COPD patients have a high-risk of carotid artery plaque formation

According to a studyled  by researchers from the Netherlands, elderly patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at increased risk of cardiovascular events. In other words, these patients are likely to develop vulnerable carotid artery plaque. The findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Artery plaque is a consequence of atherosclerosis and can occur in any part of the body. Atherosclerosis is formed due to excess fat found in the blood. This excess fat is deposited inside the blood vessels and clog them gradually. Apart excess fat, thrombosis also plays an important role in the formation of the clot. The consequence of this arterial thrombus is ischemia, this is oxygen deprivation. Consequences are different depending on the location of  ischemia: a thrombus in a blood vessel in the leg cause acute pain but in the heart leads to myocardial infarction. Also, a clot in a blood vessel in the brain leads to stroke.

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It is known that atherosclerosis is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with hypertension, smoking, diabetes and more. In addition, there are a number of other conditions that can worsen atherosclerosis, such as COPD. Researcher Bruno H.C. Stricker, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmaco-Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said that although it was known that COPD is a risk factor for ischemic stroke, though no one has yet examined the structure of an artery plaque of a patient with COPD. He said the study showed that older COPD patients had atherosclerotic plaques thicker than patients without COPD. COPD is a chronic lung disease characterized by coughing and dyspnea on exertion or at rest. This disease can lead to chronic pulmonary heart.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study to see what are the risk factors for chronic diseases. Regarding COPD, researchers enrolled 253 patients suffering from this disease, patients over 55. Pulmonary disease was assessed using spirometry and the results were compared with 920 controls, ie patients healthy. The researchers used magnetic resonance and ultrasonography to assess atherosclerotic disease in  patients. It was found that patients with COPD had a higher risk of carotid wall thickening on ultrasonography. Also, the researchers also found that patients with COPD had a significantly higher cardiovascular risk than healthy patients. It was found that vulnerable lipid core plaques were more frequent in patients with COPD. Dr. Striker warned that patients with COPD may develop asymptomatic atherosclerotic disease and that physicians should be aware of this complication.