A Answers (4)
Michael Wood, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of MountainView Hospital
SCAI answeredBlocked arteries can cause heart attacks, strokes and other serious problems. But what exactly goes wrong? How do arteries become blocked to begin with?
Each artery is made up of three layers: a smooth layer on the inside, a thick layer of muscle in the middle and a rough layer on the outside. Your arteries are strong and flexible, but they can become less effective over time. The smooth inner lining of the artery can become damaged, causing a substance called plaque to build up or blood to start clotting at the injury site. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and scar tissue. The risk of plaque formation in the arteries is increased by several factors:
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- Saturated fats and trans fats in the diet
- Cholesterol in the diet
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Genetics (family history)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
Intermountain Healthcare answeredArteries can be blocked by three problems, which may occur alone or in combination to produce a heart attack:
- Fatty buildup in the artery (atherosclerosis)
- A blood clot in an artery already narrowed by atherosclerosis
- A spasm of the artery's muscular wall.