Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood rich in oxygen throughout your body. They go to your brain as well as to the tips of your toes. Healthy arteries have smooth inner walls and blood flows through them easily. Some people, however, develop clogged arteries. Clogged arteries result from a buildup of a substance called plaque on the inner walls of the arteries.
Arterial plaque can reduce blood flow or, in some instances, block it altogether. Clogged arteries greatly increase the likelihood of heart attackstrokeand even death. Because of these dangers, it is important to be aware, no matter how old you are, of the causes of artery plaque and treatment strategies to prevent serious consequences. Plaque that accumulates on the inner walls of your arteries is made from various substances that circulate in your blood.
These include calciumfat, cholesterolcellular waste, and fibrin, a material involved in blood clotting. In response to plaque buildup, cells in your artery walls multiply and secrete additional substances that can worsen the state of clogged arteries. As plaque deposits grow, a condition called cholesterol and plaque results. This condition causes the arteries to narrow and harden. This damage, which enables the deposition of plaque, may result from:.
Other risk factors include family history, stress, sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Knowing your family history is critical. Plaque often starts to develop during the childhood or teenage years, cholesterol and plaque. Then clogged arteries develop in middle age or later.
It depends on where arterial plaque accumulates. Clogged arteries in different parts of the body can lead to multiple medical conditions, including:. In many instances, clogged arteries do not cause any symptoms until a major event, such as a heart attack or strokeoccurs. The first symptom, chest pain, is also called angina. It may result from reduced blood flow to the heart. That reduced blood flow is caused by plaque in the arteries leading to the heart. Clogged arteries in carotid artery disease may cause stroke precursors known as transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs.
TIAs may produce the following symptoms:. There are several tests for clogged arteries. Your doctor will determine which tests to prescribe based on your symptoms and medical history. The tests may include:. There are a cholesterol and plaque of prevention and treatment options for clogged arteries. What your doctor prescribes to reduce arterial plaque and prevent clogged arteries will depend on the severity of your condition and your medical history.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following:. A healthy lifestyle is essential birth control pills and heart problems the management of arterial plaque and treatment of clogged arteries. Surgical or interventional procedures, cholesterol and plaque.
In some instances, surgery may be necessary to treat clogged arteries and prevent additional arterial plaque accumulation. These procedures may include:. A number of medications may help control some of the factors that contribute to the accumulation of arterial plaque, cholesterol and plaque. Video Transcript Cholesterol and plaque Heart Association: When you have atherosclerosis, a fatty material called plaque builds up inside the walls of your arteries.
No one knows exactly why it happens, but scientists think it begins with damage to the inner wall of an artery. Cholesterol and plaque can start as early as childhood. It starts when things traveling in the blood, like cholesterol, fats, calcium, and waste products, collect in the damaged part of the artery wall.
This triggers inflammation and cells at the site release chemicals that call for help. Your immune system sends white blood cells to the damaged site. They begin to eat the cholesterol. The cells change into foam and those foam cells form plaque. As the cholesterol and plaque increases, the artery wall thickens and hardens. At the same time, muscle cells in cholesterol and plaque artery wall start multiplying.
And they move to the surface of the plaque, cholesterol and plaque. They contribute to the problem by forming a hard cover or cap over the plaque. Eventually, cholesterol and plaque, the artery narrows enough to reduce blood flow, which reduces the amount of oxygen nearby organs can receive, cholesterol and plaque. Over time, the cap may break open and release all this plaque into the bloodstream.
It can flow downstream in the artery and form a blood clot, which can stop blood flow all together. When that happens, blood supply becomes limited to the areas around the clot. If it happens in your heart, it causes a heart attack. If it happens in your brain, it causes a stroke. Continued What are the dangers of arterial plaque and clogged arteries?
Clogged arteries in different parts of the body can lead to multiple medical conditions, cholesterol and plaque, including: When plaque accumulates in the arteries carrying blood to the cholesterol and plaquecholesterol and plaque, it results in coronary artery disease, or heart disease.
Coronary artery disease can cause chest pain or shortness of breath. This condition can lead to heart attacks and is the leading cause of death in the Cholesterol and plaque States. The carotid arteries run up either side of your neck. They supply oxygen to your brain. The accumulation of arterial plaque in the carotid arteries can lead to stroke. If cholesterol and plaque builds up in the blood vessels that carry blood to your legs, it can reduce the amount of oxygen delivered.
The reduced blood flow can cause you to experience pain, numbness, or serious infection in your legs and feet. Do clogged arteries cause any symptoms? Chest pain Shortness of breath Heart palpitations Weakness or dizziness Nausea Sweating The first symptom, chest pain, is also called angina.
TIAs may produce the following symptoms: Sensation of weakness or numbness on one side of your body Inability to move an arm or a leg Loss of vision on one side only Slurring of words Clogged arteries in peripheral artery disease may cause: Leg pain Delayed healing of injuries to the feet Cold feet Gangrene Are there tests for clogged arteries? The tests may include: Continued How are clogged arteries or arterial plaque treated? Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following: Eating a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol, with less sugars and simple carbohydrates, and rich in fruits and vegetables Maintaining a healthy body weight Not smoking Exercising regularly Managing stress levels Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol down Maintaining low blood sugars 2.
These procedures may include: A small tube called a stent, which may contain medication, can be placed in an artery to maintain adequate blood flow. A catheter is used through the artery of the leg to reach the heart, and cholesterol and plaque stent is put in place through the catheter in the area of the blockage.
In this operation, arteries from other parts of the body are moved to bypass clogged arteries and help oxygen-rich blood reach its target destination. This procedure helps open cholesterol and plaque arteries that have become partially or fully blocked by opening up the blockage with a device that pushes the plaque to the side walls of the arteries.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs Blood cholesterol and plaque drugs Aspirin and other blood-thinning drugs, which reduce the likelihood of dangerous blood clot formation.