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The Benefits Of Artery Screening

14 October 2020 by Omniya Clinic

Clogged arteries happen when there is a build-up of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries. Arterial plaque can lower blood flow. In some cases, it can block the flow of blood altogether. Arteries that are clogged greatly heighten the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

Plaque that gathers on the inner walls of your arteries is made from a number of different substances that circulate in your blood. This includes cellular waste, cholesterol, fat, and calcium, as well as fibrin, which is a material involved in blood clotting. In response to the build-up of plaque, cells in your artery walls will multiply, secreting additional substances that can make the state of your clogged arteries even worse.

A condition called atherosclerosis can occur as these plaque deposits grow. This causes your arteries to harden and narrow. It’s unclear for sure what causes this. However, the process seems to result from damage to the arterial wall lining. There are a number of reasons why this may occur, yet some of the most common are as follows:

  • Diabetes or elevated circulating blood sugar – This is a major culprit. Even individuals that have high sugar levels, which are not yet at a diabetic level, for example, those seen in metabolic syndrome, have heightened risk of plaque formation.
  • Cigarette smoke – Smoke from cigarettes seems to increase the rate of atherosclerosis in the arteries of the aorta, legs, and heart. The aorta is the biggest artery in the body.
  • High blood pressure – If you have high blood pressure, this will increase the rate at which there is a build-up or arterial plaque. This will fasten up the hardening of clogged arteries.
  • Low ‘good’ cholesterol and high ‘bad’ cholesterol – Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or high levels of bad cholesterol are huge contributors to arterial plaque formation. However, this does not tell the complete story. All people have high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol in circulation in their blood. It is believed that HDL will eradicate some of the bad cholesterol from the plaque in clogged arteries, transporting it back to the liver, where it is eliminated.

The Dangers Of Clogged Arteries

There are a number of different dangers that are associated with clogged arteries. One of these is carotid artery disease, which we will discuss in more depth in the next section. Aside from this, other risks include peripheral artery disease and coronary artery disease. The former occurs when plaque builds up in the blood vessels that are responsible for carrying blood to your legs. This can result in a reduction in the amount of oxygen being delivered. The reduced amount of blood flow can result in you experiencing a serious infection in your feet and legs, as well as numbness and pain. Coronary artery disease happens when there is the accumulation of plaque in the arteries that carry blood to your heart. This causes heart disease or coronary artery disease. This can result in shortness of breath or chest pain. This is a big cause of heart attacks.

Carotid Artery Disease

Artery screening can also be beneficial to help prevent and manage carotid artery disease. The carotid arteries are a pair of two key arteries that are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to your brain from your heart. These two blood vessels travel through both sides of your neck.

When plaque, which is a build-up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances collects and forms along the walls of your carotid arteries, this is how carotid artery disease happens. Atherosclerosis is the term that is used for this plaque build-up and the resulting injury. As time goes on, the walls of the arteries that have been affected will become stiff and thicken, and the blood vessels may narrow. This limits blood flow.

If this disease is not treated, your risk of a stroke can increase considerably. A stroke happens when there is an obstruction in the blood flow to the brain. Blood clots or plaque can be the reason for this. A stroke can also happen when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or bits of plaque break free and travel into the smaller arteries in the brain. Permanent damage can happen if there is a lack of oxygen and other essential nutrients to the brain. This highlights why artery screening is so important so that you can prevent situations like this from happening.

What Increases Your Risk Of Carotid Artery Disease?

There are a number of different risk factors when it comes to carotid artery disease.

This includes the following:

  • Family history of a stroke and/or atherosclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • High cholesterol
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Age
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