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How Arteries Harden

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The high cholesterol level can be detrimental to the arteries and also your health. Here’s how to combat.

When Ramona Richman’s sibling was diagnosed as having high cholesterol levels, Richman wasn’t worried about her risk. Richman, a San Francisco Bay Area stay-at-home mother had her weight under control and assumed her eating habits were healthy. So when her doctor revealed her news of the fact that she also was suffering from high cholesterol She was shocked. The reading that was 269 mg/dL, which is above the ideal limit that is below 200 mg/dL. “My sister was diagnosed with high cholesterol and was on medicine, therefore I believe that it’s a genetic issue,” Richman, 48 says.

Genetics are a cause of high cholesterol but it is also the case if you are overweight, not exercising or eating foods that are packed with saturated fats and cholesterol. The liver is the source of all cholesterol your body needs however, many people also get large amounts through their food. No matter the reason high cholesterol is a risk. It plays a significant role in the progression of atherosclerosis, which is the thickening and narrowing of arteries. This in turn increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

When they talk about high cholesterol, they’re not referring to how much cholesterol one consumes through food or drinks, but rather the amount of the substance circulates in blood. Atherosclerosis is the most specific reason is that there is an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” type that is associated with “increased chance of having heart attacks and death from coronary heart diseases,” according to Antonio M. Gotto Jr., MD who is a professor of medical sciences of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and an expert in atherosclerosis and cholesterol.

Atherosclerosis is a slow process. “It may begin early in the course of life,” Gotto says. The appearance of fat streaks is common in the arteries of adolescents, and autopsies performed on males who are in their 20s shown “significant plaques in coronary arteries” Gotto says. “It isn’t something that happens in the night.” In time the accumulation of plaque can become a health risk, increasing the chance of suffering from heart attacks and stroke as we enter our 40s, 50s or 60s Gotto says. “Coronary disease is a dramatic increase in the 50s of men, and later in the 50s and 60s for women.”
How do Arteries Harden

How can atherosclerosis start to develop? In an artery that is healthy the inner lining called endothelium, is healthy and smooth. However, injury or diseasesuch as diabetes or high blood pressure and high cholesterol can alter the lining of the artery and lead to atherosclerosis.

Researchers aren’t certain what causes high cholesterol to damage the arteries Gotto claims, however, Gotto offers a hypothesis that the fatty acids carried by LDL get oxidized and damage the walls of blood vessels. “The greater the amount of LDL circulating in blood the more the wall is damaged.” An inflammatory reaction ensues, Gotto says. “The blood vessel responds through an inflammatory reaction in response to the injury. It reacts to this just as if you had scratched with your fingers.”

Atherosclerosis is triggered as white blood cells are pushed through the artery’s lining wall. They turn into foam cells that build up cholesterol and fat. Other substances, including calcium, can also accumulate in the area. In the end, an atherosclerotic plaque or atheroma forms.

The plaques enlarge and harden the artery’s wall and expand into the bloodstream, causing a reduction the flow of blood. When an atheroma breaks, it could create a blood clot, leading to a stroke or heart attack. The most common cause of atherosclerosis is the coronary artery that runs through the left anterior (one of the major arterial arteries in the heartand carotid arteries of the neck, and also the abdominal aorta Gotto declares.
Then Lowering Your Cholesterol

While LDL is detrimental, HDL, a “good” cholesterol type is beneficial to arteries. In addition to reducing the inflammation of damaged blood vessels, “it stops the oxidation process that occurs in LDL,” Gotto says, “and we think that HDL can remove some cholesterol from the cells of the arterial wall and transfer it to liver where it can be eliminated by the body. rid of the cholesterol. The higher the concentration of HDL is, the lower is the chance of coronary heart attack and diseases.”

Check your cholesterol levels He says. “It’s recommended to speak to your physician about atherosclerosis before you begin to experience symptoms. unfortunately, for many people the first sign could be fatal in the event of suddenly-onset cardiac deaths or arrest.”

Gotto recommends that people speak with their physician about risk factors for atherosclerosis even while in their 20s. Then, they should have a blood test taken to measure cholesterol levels. Prior to age 40, take an blood test for cholesterol every 3 years Gotto advises, while after age 40, you should test each year.

When Richman was unable to settle her findings She decided to replace whole milk products with low-fat dairy food. She consumed more heart-healthy fish. She also started walking an hour every week, five times. The results have been slowly. The cholesterol readings of her have fallen slightly from a peak of 269 to 247. she hopes to bring her cholesterol readings low enough to not require cholesterol-lowering medications.

“At first, it was “Oh my god, I’m sick I’m sick!'” she states. “But I began to see my levels back down which has been positive.”