How does atherosclerosis develop?

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Learn Your Lipids
Healthcare
Atherosclerosis begins with the deposition of cholesterol-filled cells in the inner wall of blood vessels. This causes inflammation, the invasion of more cells, further deposits of cholesterol, the formation of scar tissue and hardening, resulting in the formation of a 'plaque'. Plaques can narrow the blood vessels and reduce the flow of blood to the heart and other organs. In the heart, reduced blood supply can cause pain or discomfort, particularly after exercise. Plaques can rupture resulting in damage to the inside of the blood vessel, and the formation of a blood clot, which could severely restrict or block the blood supply. This causes an immediate lack of oxygen to the part of the organ supplied by the blood vessel and will result in tissue damage (major or minor). This is called an infarct.