Heart Disease: How it begins

This first post will educate you on the basis of heart disease and how it begins. Atherosclerosis is the basis for heart disease and the consequences that follow. Atherosclerosis occurs when the lining of arteries are damaged and plaque begins to build up at those points. Arteries are vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other places in the body. The plaque that accumulates consists of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other components found in blood. This accumulation of plaque hardens and narrows the artery which reduces blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body. This plaque can also break off the wall and be taken up in the bloodstream; this is called a clot and can cause heart attacks and strokes. Some situations that can damage artery walls are smoking, high amounts of specific fats and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. For more information on atherosclerosis, you can visit these two sites: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atherosclerosis/http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atherosclerosis/causes.html

This is an image of a normal artery and an artery with plaque build-up.



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