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Coronary Atherosclerosis: An Overview

Atherosclerosis is a process in which thickening and hardening of arteries take place. It occurs due to the deposition of the fatty substances, calcium, fibrin, cellular waste particles in the inner lining of the wall of arteries. Deposition of these particles results in the formation of plaques which reduces the flow of blood to the organ these arteries feed. When this process occurs in the coronary arteries, it is called coronary atherosclerosis. When these plaques are formed in the coronary arteries, they impair the flow of blood to the heart causing heart stroke or heart fail.

The process of atherosclerosis in coronary artery is a complex one. It starts with the greater number of LDL particles entering into the subendothelial space. Greater number of these LDL particles does matter and raise the risk of coronary diseases. It takes time and develops in a long span of time resulting in the build up of plaques causing rupture or blockade in the blood vessel.

Coronary atherosclerosis has been the major cause of death in America and other western countries.

At present it affects approx 11 million people in the North America. There are some risk factors for coronary atherosclerosis which one should know so as to reduce the possibility of the incidence of this disease. They are:


1. High level of LDL cholesterol

2. Smoking and exposure to tobacco

3. Heredity and family history

4. High level of sugar or diabetes

5. Less physical activity

6. Low level of good cholesterol

There are some health indicators which may reduce the probability of coronary atherosclerosis:

1. Keeping blood sugar level to low

2. Controlling high blood pressure

3. Exercising regularly

4. Maintaining low level of bad cholesterol

5. Maintaining high level of good cholesterol

6. Consuming foods containing antioxidant vitamins

7. Taking medicines preventing blood clotting

8. Reducing blood levels of homocysteines

These steps are also useful in the event of other atherosclerosis as they would lessen the probability of thickening of the arteries.