When arteries become narrowed with cholesterol deposits known as plaque it causes the hardening of arteries known as Atheroscelerosis. Recent studies have shown that the cells in the endothelium (the tissues that line the inner surfaces of the coronary arteries) will malfunction when exposed to high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol or insulin, smoking, and chronic stress. When one or more of these factors are present, harmful chemicals are released from the endothelial cells ,and a sticky surface is created.
This sticky surface, attract other cells that accelerate a process leading to atherosclerosis.This may take a long time to develop and involves many different types of cells in the walls of the arteries. This sticky substance is called plaque. This plaque is actually a type of living tissue, not a mineral-like deposit. I t needs blood to support its cells just as any tissue does. This blood is provided by a series of tiny blood vessels that extend themselves from the original arterial wall into the new growth.
Coronary Calcification is when this plaque does not get enough blood and nutrients, and dies .This is replaced with actual bone tissue around the walls of the arteries.Sometimes a plaque grows so swiftly that the blood vessels are unable to form quickly enough, to supply the plaque’s cells with oxygen and nutrients. This leads to the development of dead plaque. As the plaque continues to grow, it presses against the cap that covers it .Plaques spring small leaks and blood clotting factors in the blood come to the rescue, sealing off these breaks. This temporarily keeps dead material from escaping into the artery’s main channel.
Unfortunately the sealant produced by the blood-clotting factors is converted into additional plaque over time, which increases the size of the original plaque. This increases the amount of obstruction inside the artery and makes it more difficult for adequate amounts of blood to reach the heart muscle. However, a blockage by itself is not the cause of a heart attack.
A Heart Disease usually starts when a plaque blocking only 30 to 40 percent of the blood flow ruptures and the interior escapes. The fatty substances in this decayed material combine with clotting factors in the blood to form a dangerous clot. Sometimes the clot may remain at the point of rupture. Sometimes it may travel down an artery until it hits another obstruction of sticky substance .It then lodges in this new location blocking more than 70 percent and sometimes as much as 90 percent of the blood flow. In recent years doctors have been giving medication to dissolve this clot in the hours after a heart attack with good results.
Because plaque is unstable ,they are dangerous.however only 10 to 20 percent of the plaque in our bodies have a high probability of rupturing. Such plaque account for 80 to 90 percent of all serious heart problems, including heart attacks and chest pain due to inadequate blood flow, which is called angina.
Although cholesterol levels in the blood stream can be reduced in a matter of days or weeks, the effects of lower cholesterol levels on the vessel wall function may require up to six months.
The blood itself can also promote the process of atherosclerosis by thickening. Increases in blood thickness called viscosity, and elevated levels of a clotting protein called fibrinogen have been reported in patients with high cholesterol levels. The use of cholesterol lowering supplements or drugs has been associated with reductions in both blood viscosity and fibrinogen levels.
Aspirin, a drug derived from the willow tree reduces the stickiness which causes plaque. The natural remedies for a healthy heart, concentrate on improving endothelial cell function. This improved function creates a healthier heart by widening the blood vessels and reducing the chance that a sudden blockage would occur should a plaque burst. The heart is an extraordinary organ, but it cannot be expected to adapt to overwhelming amounts of damage.