- by Dr. Sunil Dwivedi
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- Mar 16 2017
Causes of hardening and narrowing of the arteries-ATHEROSCLEROSIS
Atherosclerosis starts in the arteries as early as childhood and is a slow, progressive disease. The precise causes that lead to atherosclerosis are unknown. But, damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery may initiate the process of atherosclerosis. The damage may be caused by:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol, often from getting too much cholesterol or saturated fats in your diet
- Smoking and other sources of nicotine
Damage to the inner arterial walls leads to build up of blood cells and other substances at the injury site and further damaging the inner lining of the artery. With passage of time, fatty deposits (plaques) made of cholesterol and other cellular waste products also build up at the injury site. The hardening and narrowing of your arteries is caused by these plaques. Blocked arteries lead to insufficient blood supply to the organs and tissues connected to them leading improper function of these arteries.
Further, these plaques may break off and enter bloodstream. Additionally, the smooth lining of a plaque may rupture, spilling cholesterol and other substances into your bloodstream. As a result of these changes a blood clot forms which can completely block the blood flow to a specific part of your body. If this happens in arteries of heart, it leads to a heart attack. It is also noteworthy that a blood clot can travel to arteries of other parts of your body and block (partially or totally) blood flow to another organ.
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