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Understanding Arterial Plaque

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Understanding Arterial Plaque


"I'm at the hospital. Dad's had a heart attack."

Every year hundreds of thousands of people have heart attacks; heart attacks that could be prevented.

Most times, heart attacks are the result of changes that have been happening in your body for years.

Inside the blood vessels and arteries throughout your body, fatty substances, called plaque, slowly build up, narrowing the vessels and reducing blood flow. These are called hard plaques.

Hard plaques in the heart may be the cause of chest pain and shortness of breath.

And if blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack occurs.

Soft plaques throughout the body can also be life threatening. These plaques, also called

vulnerable plaques, can easily break open causing a blood clot to form that can stop blood flow in the heart, brain or other parts of the body.

Hard plaque and soft plaque take time to develop. So the sooner you learn to reduce your chances of developing plaque, the sooner you can reduce your chance for developing heart disease.

And if you have plaque, there are ways to help reduce it.

Animation Copyright © 2008 Milner-Fenwick

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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