Oct 13, 2014

How Do Clogged Arteries Happen

If you're concerned about your heart health, you've no doubt heard that your arteries can become clogged.  You may wonder how this can happen to your blood vessels.  It helps to understand some basics about how your body works.

Your blood vessels are made of smooth muscle cells.  When they're healthy, they are smooth and elastic.  They can stretch to accommodate higher blood pressure and then go back to their original size.  They're slick and smooth inside and blood flows easily through them.

However, many people are walking around with blood vessels that are less than healthy.  The problem can begin when you develop high blood pressure.  Being overweight and having a stressful lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure. When your blood pressure is too high, it can cause your blood vessels to become hardened. That's because the constant high pressure against the blood vessel walls causes them to become damaged.

Then, when you eat a diet that's high in cholesterol and saturated fats, the cholesterol gets caught on the rigid sides of the blood vessel walls. Much like a pipe that gets narrowed because of a build-up of hair and soap scum, vessels become narrower.

This is what's known as clogged arteries.  But what's the big deal about having clogged arteries'  This is a very dangerous condition for your heart and can lead to heart attacks and strokes when left without treatment or lifestyle intervention.

As your blood vessels get more and more clogged, there's the possibility that some of the cholesterol deposits can collect blood clots and shear off,  causing a blockage in the blood vessels of the heart or brain.This causes a heart attack or a stroke.  These can cause major health problems and can even lead to death.  And heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women.  So it's important not to ignore the risk factors.

There are several things you need to pay attention to when it comes to your lifestyle.  People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  You may also have genetic factors that put you more at risk.

Make sure that you keep track of your health numbers such as blood pressure and cholesterol.  Then if you find that either are too high, work with your doctor to determine what can help you get healthier.

Often, weight loss, dietary changes, exercise, and medications will be discussed as ways to keep your heart healthy. By making healthy changes you can protect your heart, extend your life, and improve your quality of life.