Understanding Why Your Arteries Clog
- Posted on: Jan 15 2019
Our arteries are the superhighways that carry oxygenated blood to every inch of the body, from the brain to the toes. We all begin our path with clean arteries. Their walls are smooth and the blood flows through them without any impedance. But as we become adults, our arteries can begin to narrow thanks to the buildup of plaque on the arterial walls. This makes it harder for the blood to move through the arteries, and it can even lead to full blockage. Clogged arteries greatly increase the likelihood of heart attacks, stroke, and even death.
The question is —why does this happen?
Since we deal with various effects caused by clogged arteries here at Nevada Vein & Vascular, here’s some information on how your arteries become clogged like rush hour on Virginia Street.
Why do arteries clog?
The plaque that is filling up your arteries is made from various substances making their way through your body in the blood: calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste, and fibrin (which is necessary for clotting). Plaque forms deposits on the inner walls of your arteries. This is called atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries.
There is debate about why this process starts, but there seems to be damage to the lining of the arterial wall, which then allows plaque to lodge and accumulate. These are factors that may cause this “damage”:
High levels of LDL—We’ve all heard of good and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is a major contributor to plaque formation. The more good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), you have the better, as it removes some of the LDL from plaque in clogged arteries.
High blood pressure—Although the process isn’t fully understood, high blood pressure increases the rates plaque builds up, and it speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries.
Cigarette smoking—Cigarette smoke increases the rate of atherosclerosis.
Diabetes—Elevated blood sugar levels, even levels that don’t qualify as “diabetic,” increase the risk of plaque formation.
Other factors —Family history, stress, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity also increase a person’s risk of developing clogged arteries.
When you have problems with your vascular system, it’s time to see the team at Nevada Vein & Vascular. Call us at (775) 323-3000 to make an appointment.
Posted in: Arterial Disease