cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in artery walls. This buildup is called
atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease
(CAD), heart attack, stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), and peripheral arterial disease.
Atherosclerosis can cause these problems because it:
- Narrows your arteries. When enough plaque builds up, it starts to narrow your arteries. This happens slowly over many years. In time, the plaque can limit blood flow throughout your body, including the heart and brain.
- Hardens your arteries. A healthy artery can widen (dilate) so that more blood can flow through when needed, such as during activity. When hard plaque forms in the walls of an artery, it can make the artery too stiff to widen. This "hardening" of your arteries can also limit blood flow in your body.
- Blocks your arteries. When a blood clot forms around a crack or rupture in the plaque, it can block the artery. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
For more information, see:
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
June 29, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.