FEBRUARY 25: WHAT IS PLAQUE?
29 Days to a Healthier Heart
Plaque is the name given to a composition of cholesterol and fatty acids, immune cells, calcium, blood platelets, and various types of connective tissue. Though there are many theories as to why these compounds and cells gather in the artery to form plaque, the most widely accepted theory states that atherosclerosis is initiated in response to injury to the cells lining the inside of the artery.
In a previous blog, we talked about why antioxidants are important. They are important because antioxidants neutralize the free radicals responsible for damage to the internal lining, therefore protecting arterial cells from injury and inhibiting this initial step in its formation.
Once initiated, it continues to grow until eventually it blocks the flow of blood within the artery. Atherosclerosis is the name given to the disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries such that it begins to cause symptoms. Blockage of the artery is typically around 90% before symptoms of atherosclerosis become apparent.
For more information, please see our blog on Antioxidants.
-Karen Hack, BHSc, ND