If the art of medical science were more clear-cut, then there would be no confusion when it comes to treating illness and disease. However, science sometimes creates more questions than it answers. Furthermore, experts are not always in agreement when it comes to determining the proper treatment for certain diseases. Such is the case with the topic of cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, and the use of cholesterol-lowering statin medications. The effectiveness and usefulness of these medications come into question from time to time, despite evidence that these medications may prevent death from heart disease.
9. What Is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the blood vessels become clogged with clots or “plaques” of fat. As the blood vessels narrow, the heart has to work harder to pump oxygen-rich blood to the organs and tissues that need it. The American Heart Association lists three possible reasons that fatty deposits may form on the interior of blood vessel walls. High blood pressure may be one contributor to atherosclerosis. A second possibility is cigarette smoking. Lastly, high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, may cause atherosclerosis.
8. Complications of Atherosclerosis
Once fatty plaque deposits have formed on blood vessel walls, your body has a greater risk of developing other forms of heart disease. As the blood vessel walls thicken, they may become hardened and impassable. When the coronary arteries become blocked, you may suffer angina or heart pain as the heart muscle is deprived of blood. Meanwhile, the carotid arteries carry blood to your brain. When these vessels become blocked, you may suffer a stroke due to lack of blood supply to the brain. Furthermore, chronic kidney disease may develop when atherosclerosis blocks blood flow to your kidneys.