Cardiovascular atherosclerosis is a medical condition involving the arteries leading in and out of the heart. These arteries are different sizes and are in charge of allowing blood to flow between the heart and other areas of the body.
When the heart rate increases because of emotional or exercise reasons, these arteries need to push a faster rush of blood to keep up with the more excited physical state.
Atherosclerosis sets in when patches of plaque start to collect along the artery walls. This occurs in medium and large sized arteries and can occur at any place in the body, not just close to the heart.
While many people assume that plaque is caused by excess cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet, that is just one cause of plaque build-up.
Those suffering from obesity are at a high risk of developing this type of heart problem, but there are many patients who suffer despite leading a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout their life, and eating healthy foods.
What is Plaque Buildup In The Arteries?
The plaque that accumulates inside the arteries is made up of the following:
- Inflammatory Cells
- Smooth Muscle Cells
- Connective Tissue
- Calcium Deposits
This plaque starts forming long before cardiovascular atherosclerosis is diagnosed. It’s believed that Low Grade Internal Inflammation is to blame. The deposits start to form earlier in life, and it slowly builds with more and more deposits over time.
By the time health problems start to alert a patient that there may be a problem, the deposits have been collecting for a number of years and have caused substantial blockage in the arteries.
What Causes Atherosclerosis?
It is commonly believed that obese people are more at risk for atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), but this is not always the case. While many people who carry excess weight (especially in the abdominal area) will end up with cardiovascular disease, it is not entirely clear whether the excess weight causes the deposits of plaque.
The problem is that many people who are obese also have other health conditions that may contribute to clogging of the arteries. It’s now known that Smoking and Diabetes can greatly increase the risk of Cardiovascular Atherosclerosis.
Heredity also plays a big role. It’s your typical “what’s going to get you first” scenario.
Those with cardiovascular atherosclerosis often have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and Type 2 Diabetes. Many overweight people have this disease as a result of their sedentary lifestyles involving too much high fat, processed food, but many people with cardiovascular disease who are not obese may have these problems as well.
Avoiding Clogged Arteries is Possible
The ultimate risk of cardiovascular disease is death. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States, which bypasses even cancer fatalities. Millions of people will die from clogged arteries, and many will have no clear signs of something wrong until they drop dead from a heart attack. That is the dangerous aspect of the disease: it can be silent until the day of death.
The best way to protect yourself is to know the signs of trouble and live the healthiest life possible. My dad died at age 55 and I am just turning 50 myself. It’s time for me to wake up and take better care of myself. Eating better, not smoking and exercising are some of the changes I have made in my life. My doctor has me taking a statin drug and has also told me to take a fish oil supplement with CoQ10.
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