How does plaque affect arteries?
Cholesterol can combine with fat , calcium and other substances in the blood to form plaque.
Plaque then slowly builds up and hardens in the arteries, causing them to narrow . This build up of plaque is called artherosclerosis, can lead to heart diseases , heart attacks and stroke.
Plaques begin in artery walls and grow over the years . The growth of cholesterol plaques slowly block the blood flow in the arteries . A cholesterol plaque may suddenly rupture . The sudden blood clot that forms over the rupture then causes a heart attack or stroke.
Artherosclerosis happens through a complicated process of cholesterol plaque formation that involves :
1) the smooth delicate lining of blood vessels is called endothelium. High cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes can damage the endothelium, creating a place for cholesterol to enter the artery's wall.
2) LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood crosses the damaged endothelium and starts to accumulate in the walls of the artery.
3) WBC's stream in to digest the LDL cholesterol. Over the years the toxic mess of cholesterol and cells becomes a cholesterol plaque in the wall of the artery.