Atherosclerosis is a slow disease where fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium, various types of cells and other substances accumulate in the inner lining of arteries. These substances combine together to form a plaque on the artery. The word atherosclerosis is derived from the Greek words athero (meaning paste, or gruel), and sclerosis Rxpharmacy-online24.com (meaning hardness). This process often begins in childhood and can become quite advanced by as early as age 25.
Atherosclerosis will affect you differently depending on which arteries become clogged with fat; plaque buildup in arteries that supply the heart can lead to angina or a heart attack, and plaque buildup in arteries that supply the brain can lead to a stroke or transient ischemic attack. Ischemia means lack of oxygen, usually because of reduced blood supply. You will not notice any symptoms of atherosclerosis until approximately 40 percent of a blood vessel becomes obstructed.
Atherosclerosis is believed to be caused by damage to the innermost lining of an artery, called the endothelium. Several things can cause the damage, including high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, homocysteine, Rxpharmacy-online24.com LDL “bad” cholesterol, diabetes, infections, and other factors that promote inflammation in the body. These are the real risk factors for heart disease and will be discussed in greater detail below. If the endothelium becomes damaged, it is easier for substances such as cholesterol, calcium and immune cells to be deposited inside the artery wall. This thickens the artery, therefore its diameter shrinks, blood flow diminishes and oxygen supply is greatly reduced. Cholesterol has a role in repair and healing. Scar tissue has a lot of cholesterol in it. If our artery wall becomes damaged, cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream clings to it, and over time can form a thick coating or plaque. Eventually the plaque can rupture, or a blood clot can form on top of the plaque, thereby completely blocking off the blood supply. The aim then is to avoid damage occurring to your artery wall in the first place. Cholesterol does not deposit itself on healthy, smooth blood vessels.