Activity 5A: Normal and Atherosclerotic Vessels

Teacher will explain that as sugar increases in the blood, cholesterol (a fat) levels also increase, meaning increased fats/lipids in the blood. On the inner body diagram, teacher will direct students in labeling the internal body parts and associated complications. The teacher will explain that increased fats in the blood accumulate in the artery walls, leading to the condition of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Normally, the insides of blood vessels are smooth, but in a person with atherosclerosis (fat build up of the vessels resulting in hardening of the arteries) the inside vessel walls can be described as being like tree bark. (Show diagram of normal and atherosclerotic vessels.) Because these fats accumulate in the artery walls, the arteries are no longer elastic, meaning that they cannot stretch anymore. As the blood vessel wall thickens, the blood flow is reduced. Sometimes blood clots form in the vessels. Blood clots can reenter the blood stream, and get caught in various parts of the body, causing the serious complications associated with diabetes. The reduced blood flow and the blood clots can block the circulation in the legs and feet, which may lead to gangrene and amputation. They can block the kidneys causing kidney disease/failure. They can block the blood flow to the brain causing a stroke. A blood clot that occurs in the coronary artery of the heart causes a heart attack. Blood clots cut off the oxygen supply to the tissues, which cause tissue death, resulting in the above complications.




Atherosclerosis, blood clot, vascular system, diabetes, cholesterol, sugar, glucose, vascular disease, complication, blood glucose, blood sugar, artery, arteries


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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Bittersweet: Diabetes
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 5: Diabetic Complications