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Cocaine leads to atherosclerosis, a plaque that narrows blood vessels. Factors causing narrowing?

Dear Dr; Could you explain for me detail and specificl about how cocaine stimulates and narrows the blood vessels which lead to atheerosclerosis. As far as i researched that atherosclerosis is plaques which formed from cholesterol , fat, smooth muscle cells and calcified mass which been built by many years and it narrows the blood vessels. But i can t find any factors of how and why cocaine causes narrowing of blood vessels or accelerates the atherosclerosis? and these causes from long term cocaine used or also short term? Term of just start 10 months cocaine used (with average 10g of rock a month) is enough time for cocaine to cause atherosclerosis or narrow blood vessels yet? Thank you.
Asked On : Tue, 29 May 2012
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Pathologist and Microbiologist 's  Response
Hi there, you seem to be very well informed about the ill effects of cocain abuse and also the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Atherogenesis or formation of a plaque begins with damage to the enothelium or the inner lining of the blood vessels. This damage can be caused due to injury which can be direct by trauma or by injurious oxygen free radicals generated by the breakdown of normal metabolites and also by breakdown of toxic substances like alcohol cigeratte smoke and COCAIN. Once the injury is caused by whatever reason then the white blood cells called monocytes and macrophages while trying to protect the area stimulate certain substance which accelerate plaque formation with the help of lipids, cholesterol, smooth muscles and finally deposition of calcium. Cocain not only harms the endothelium by releasing free radicals but also causes vasoconstriction which decreases the blood supply to the artery itself so that they are more vulnerable to injury. All this may sound very technical to you so in a nutshell we can summerise that cocain in whatever dose is not good for you so sooner you kick the habit the better. Take care
Answered: Tue, 29 May 2012
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