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Does High Cholesterol Always Clog Arteries

Full Fat Or Reduced Fat Dairy

MEDICAL – How cholesterol clogs your arteries (atherosclerosis)

Although full fat dairy foods contain saturated fat, it appears this type of fat has a neutral relationship with heart health.

The Heart Foundation recommends unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese can be consumed by the general population but for people who need to lower their LDL cholesterol, reduced fat versions should be consumed instead.

Complications From Plaque Buildup In Arteries

One major complication of plaque buildup in the arteries is the risk that part of the plaque will rupture. If this happens, a blood clot will form at the site. This is your bodys natural reaction to try to heal the area where the rupture occurred. However, the clot can then block the blood flow through the artery. The lack of blood flow can starve your body and organs of vital oxygen and nutrients, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

In addition to this risk of blood clots, there are other complications that can result from plaque buildup in your arteries. These complications include:

Where To Get Help

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Obesity And Belly Fat

Being overweight or having obesity can make it harder to manage your diabetes and raise your risk for many health problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, a healthy eating plan with fewer calories and more physical activity often will lower your blood glucose levels and reduce your need for medicines.

Excess belly fat around your waist, even if you are not overweight, can raise your chances of developing heart disease.

You have excess belly fat if your waist measures

  • more than 40 inches and you are a man
  • more than 35 inches and you are a woman

How Long Can You Live With Blocked Arteries

Pin on artery cleaning

Many risk factors and bad habits can lead blocked arteries, and the effects of blocked arteries are usually only noticed once you have a problem. Therefore, it is difficult to say how long someone may live with blocked arteries. Complications from blocked arteries may be reduced by quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring blood pressure, eating healthier, and exercising regularly.

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What Causes Plaque In Arteries

Plaque forms when cholesterol lodges in the wall of the artery. To fight back, the body sends white blood cells to trap the cholesterol, which then turn into foamy cells that ooze more fat and cause more . That triggers muscle cells in the artery wall to multiply and form a cap over the area. But the soft plaque beneath the cap is dangerous. For example, if your blood pressure spikes, it puts pressure on the thin wall of the plaque, which can break open, form a clot, and cause a heart attack, says Dr. Cannon. About three of every four heart attacks occur when plaques rupture.

Larger plaques can block blood flow. But they are typically covered by thick, fibrous caps that can resist breaking apart. These are often treated by inserting a wire mesh tube near the blockage to widen the artery.

Treatment Reduces Risk Of Heart Attack By 60 To 90 Percent Reverses Arterial Plaque Buildup Antioxidant Vitamins Diminish Beneficial Effect

Treatment with a combination of statin and niacin can slash the risk of a fatal or non-fatal heart attack or hospitalization for chest pain by 70 percent among patients who are likely to suffer heart attacks and/or death from coronary heart disease, according to a study by University of Washington researchers in the Nov. 29 New England Journal of Medicine. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in most industrialized countries.

The study also found that a mixture of antioxidant vitamins had no beneficial effect on cardiovascular outcomes.

The treatment that cut the risk for cardiovascular events combines two well-known ways of improving cardiac health: the use of a statin drug to lower levels of the bad cholesterol, LDL, and the use of niacin to boost levels of the good cholesterol, HDL. The study found that use of this combined treatment, in people with low levels of good HDL and average levels of bad LDL, could even reverse plaque buildup in the arteries.

At the start of the study and again after three years of treatment, doctors performed angiograms of the patients arteries. The angiograms, using computerized measurements, showed that in most of the patients who received the combination treatment, plaque buildup had actually decreased.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute .

Illustrations related to this story are available at:

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How Common Are Clogged Arteries

Each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 735,000 people have a heart attack and 610,000 people die of coronary heart disease . Thats one in four deaths. Preventing heart disease in patients is a physicians main goal, but early detection is the next best thing. This can lead to changes in lifestyle and medical therapies that can delay or deny the onset of a heart attack almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. Many of my patients are shocked to learn about the following unexpected symptoms of clogged arteries and heart disease.

Are There Natural Ways To Unclog Arteries

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You may have read articles or heard reports promoting natural ways to unclog your arteries. For now, research doesnt support the use of specific foods to unclog arteries, though small studies in animals show promise for the future.

Losing weight, exercising more, or eating less cholesterol-rich foods are all steps you can take to reduce plaques, but these steps wont remove existing plaques.

Focus on promoting better heart health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Healthy habits will help prevent additional plaque from forming.

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Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise

Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2

People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:

  • People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol. FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
  • People with cardiovascular disease . People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
  • People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.

Health Risks Of Atherosclerosis

If left to get worse, atherosclerosis can potentially lead to a number of serious conditions known as cardiovascular disease . There will not usually be any symptoms until CVD develops.

Types of CVD include:

  • coronary heart disease the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged with plaques
  • angina short periods of tight, dull or heavy chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, which may precede a heart attack
  • heart attacks where the blood supply to your heart is blocked, causing sudden crushing or indigestion-like chest pain that can radiate to nearby areas, as well as shortness of breath and dizziness
  • strokes where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing the face to droop to 1 side, weakness on 1 side of the body, and slurred speech

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Genetic Link To Clogged Arteries Discovered Raises Risk Of Heart Disease Independent Of Cholesterol Levels

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified a gene called SVEP1 that makes a protein that influences the risk of coronary artery disease independent of cholesterol. SVEP1 induces proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells in the development of atherosclerosis. Shown is a stained section of atherosclerotic plaque from a mouse aorta, the largest artery in the body. Vascular smooth muscle cells are red proliferating cells are cyan nuclei of any cell are blue. Credit: In-Hyuk Jung, PhD, Stitziel Lab

Independent of cholesterol, gene variants raise risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.

High cholesterol is the most commonly understood cause of atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. But now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a gene that likely plays a causal role in coronary artery disease independent of cholesterol levels. The gene also likely has roles in related cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

The study was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Procedures To Unclog Arteries

What are Good Cholesterol Numbers? (with pictures)

Using invasive procedures, doctors can see and unclog arteries, or provide a path for blood to go around blocked arteries. Treatments include:

  • Angiography, angioplasty, and stenting. Using a catheter put into an artery in the leg or arm, doctors can enter diseased arteries. This procedure is called cardiac catheterization. Blocked arteries are visible on a live X-ray screen. A tiny balloon on the catheter can be inflated to compress cholesterol plaque in the blocked arteries. Placing small tubes called stents helps to keep open blocked arteries. The stent is usually made of metal and is permanent. Some stents have medicine that helps keep the artery from getting blocked again.
  • Surgeons harvest a healthy blood vessel from the leg or chest. They use the healthy vessel to bypass blocked arteries.

These procedures involve a risk of complications. They are usually saved for people with significant symptoms or limits caused by the cholesterol plaques of atherosclerosis.

Show Sources

American Heart Association: “Atherosclerosis,” “Cholesterol,” “Common Cardiovascular Diseases,” “What is Atherosclerosis?” “LDL and HDL Cholesterol: What’s Bad and What’s Good?” “Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs,” “Phytochemicals and Cardiovascular Disease,” “Effects of Normal, Pre-hypertensive, and Hypertensive Blood Pressure Levels on Progression of Coronary Atherosclerosis,” “Antiplatelet Agents,” “Anticoagulants,” “Anticoagulation,” “Questions and Answers About Statin Therapy.”


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How Diet Can Help With Heart Disease

Diet is an essential part of keeping the arteries healthy, along with other lifestyle aspects.

Certain foods are beneficial for cardiovascular health, while other foods can increase a persons risk of heart disease.

The following sections look at the scientific evidence behind how diet can help with atherosclerosis and maintain artery health.

Where Did The Story Come From

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of South Florida, the Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance and various other international institutions in Japan, Sweden, UK, Ireland, US and Italy.

Funding was provided by the Western Vascular Institute. The study was published in the BMJ Open and, as the journal name suggests, the article is , so can be read for free.

Four of the study authors have previously written book criticising the cholesterol hypothesis. It should also be noted that nine of the authors are members of THINCS The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics. This is described as a group of scientists who opposethat animal fat and high cholesterol play a role .

If you were playing Devils Advocate, you could argue that this represents a preconceived view of the authors regarding the role of cholesterol, rather than the open, unbiased mind you would hope for in the spirit of scientific enquiry. That said, many important scientific breakthroughs happened due to the efforts of individuals who challenged a prevailing orthodoxy of thinking.

In general, the UK media provided fairly balanced reporting, presenting both sides of the argument supporting the findings, but with critical views from other experts.

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What Is High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a condition in which you have too many lipids in your blood. Its also called hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia.

Your body needs just the right amount of lipids to function. If you have too many lipids, your body cant use them all. The extra lipids start to build up in your arteries. They combine with other substances in your blood to form plaque .

This plaque might not cause any problems for years, but over time, the plaque silently gets bigger and bigger within your arteries. This is why untreated high cholesterol is dangerous. Those extra lipids in your blood help make the plaque bigger without you even knowing it. The only way to know you have high cholesterol is through a blood test.

A blood test, called a lipid panel, tells you how many lipids are circulating in your blood. What is considered high cholesterol depends on your age, sex and history of heart disease.

Good cholesterol vs. bad cholesterol

There are several types of lipids. The main ones youve probably heard about are good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein . Think of the H as meaning helpful. Your HDLs carry cholesterol to your liver. Your liver keeps your cholesterol levels balanced. It makes enough cholesterol to support your bodys needs and gets rid of the rest. You must have enough HDLs to carry cholesterol to your liver. If your HDLs are too low, youll have too much cholesterol circulating in your blood.

What Causes High Cholesterol

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Three major things contribute to high cholesterol levels:

  • diet: eating a diet high in fats, particularly saturated fat and trans fat
  • heredity: having a parent or close family member with high cholesterol
  • obesity: having a poor diet and not exercising
  • People who are physically active, eat healthy foods, donât have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, and arenât overweight are less likely to have high cholesterol.

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    Manage Your Diabetes Abcs

    Know your diabetes ABCs to help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Stop smoking if you have diabetes to lower your chances of developing heart disease.

    A is for the A1C test. The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. This is different from the blood glucose checks you do every day. The higher your A1C number, the higher your blood glucose levels have been during the past 3 months. High levels of blood glucose can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

    The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7%. Some people may do better with a slightly higher A1C goal. Your A1C goals may also change as you get older and your lifestyle changes. Ask your health care team what your goal should be.

    B is for blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke and damage your kidneys and eyes.

    The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be.

    S is for stop smoking. Quitting smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels, so your heart has to work harder. E-cigarettes arent a safe option either.

    If you quit smoking

    If Your Stress Test Was Normal Does This Mean You Cant Possibly Have Severely Blocked Coronary Arteries

    How much faith should you put in the cardiac stress test?

    A stress echocardiogram or a nuclear stress test are each about 90 percent accurate in correctly identifying a severe coronary blockage, i.e., at least one of the coronary arteries has a narrowing greater than 70 percent)., explains Dr. Larry Santora, MD, cardiologist, medical director of cardiac CT, and medical director of the Vascular and Wellness Center, Saint Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA, and author of OC Cure for Heart Disease.

    However about 10 percent of the time it will miss the blockage, and the stress test will be falsely negative, explains Dr. Santora.

    These false negative stress tests are more common in women . It is more common to have a false negative if the blockage is in the circumflex artery which, on the back side of the heart, is more likely to be missed since it tends to be a smaller artery, and rarely, even if all three arteries are equally blocked .

    BruceBlaus, CreativeCommons

    This got me wondering, then, about someone with a high coronary calcium score who has a normal stress test.

    He may worry he might be in that 10 percent in which the test results are not accurate.

    Dr. Santora explains, There is no test in medicine that is 100 percent accurate not a mammogram or colonoscopy, etc.

    If you have a high coronary calcium score and you are asymptomatic , and your stress test is normal, the probability of a severe blockage at that time is very, very low.

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